I can't decide if I should change grades!!!!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Mrs_B, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. Mrs_B

    Mrs_B Comrade

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    Mar 31, 2008

    I currently teach 4th. There is an opening next year for 1st and I can't decide if I should move down or not!!! Anyone want to help me with pros/cons?

    Some background on me:
    I have an elementary degree but taught 7th and 8th for 8 years, then stayed home for 7 years to raise my kids. I decided I wanted to come back as a K-2 teacher but only 4th was open. I have had a VERY challenging class so my principal and other teachers say I should give 4th one more year to see if I enjoy it more because they think I am good with that age.

    Reasons to move to 1st:
    1.I would only have 20 students instead of 31!!!
    2. I think teaching kids to read is really rewarding.
    3. I have always wanted to do things like read the room, magnetic letters, letter tiles, etc (although no one at my school teaches this way)
    4. Dr. Jean, Jack Hartman, etc make learning FUN which is what I want to do. I find it harder to make 4th grade work fun.
    5. I would get to move into a BRAND NEW ROOM.
    6. The younger ones seem more eager to please. Some 4th graders already have bad attitudes and habits.
    7. I LOVE crafts and cute stuff!!! Not much of that in 4th.
    8. I did 8 years of grading essays and I still am in 4th. It might be nice to put stars on sentences...
    9. There is less testing

    Reasons to stay in 4th:
    1. I have created a large chapter book library organized similar to Beth Newingham and would have to totally redo it and get a lot of younger books.
    2. The 1st grade teachers are complaining about being told by the district to have fidelity to Houghton Mifflin even to the detriment of the students. I have not been impressed with the 4th grade basal program so I can imagine I would want to rebel and teach it my own way. This could be an issue although our principal is pretty hand-off so maybe not?
    3 I like the independence of 4th graders. I can say read for 40 minutes and they will. They also help me a lot in the classroom.
    4. Next year would be A LOT easier now that I have a handle on the curriculum, this age levels capabilities, etc. If I move I will be STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN!
    5. 4th grade math is more interesting to me than 1st.

    OK, I have to stop and feed my kids. I am sure I will continue to obsess later! Thanks for listening to me :)
     
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  3. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

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    Mar 31, 2008

    I'm partial to 4th grade because I am a fourth grade teaching and I'm not a primary grade teacher. I spent a year of practicums in the 2nd grade and I almost changed my major because of it. ANYWAY, you need to do what is best for you. If you want to mix things up and give yourself a challenge then go ahead and move to 1st grade. The class size is enticing. But you'll have to start all over with your classroom library and lessons plans, etc. I think you should list out the pros and cons and think about where you'll be happy. There are always pros and cons to different grades.
     
  4. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    Mar 31, 2008

    tough decision... i taught first and now teach 5th! first graders are very sweet and are so easily impressed when you do fun, craftsy stuff! but there ARE ways to be very creative in intermediate grades too! i would say give 4th another year just to see if another group could really turns things around for you. first grade is tough the first year... the kids are at totally different levels (at least at my school), from barely knowing the alphabet to reading easy chapter books. it can be a lot to manage. and if your school dictates a lot about the curriculum, you may not be able to do all the great balanced literacy stuff you hinted at.

    so since i don't think i made a great case for either, here's a question for you: which team do you think you would work better with?
     
  5. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Mar 31, 2008

    Starting all over with the file building and books is not an easy task! Can you visit a little more (maybe during a prep time) and see what they are really doing - also remember if you do this that they are totally different at the beginning of first. Kindergarten is a transitional year (sort of) between daycare and school. The first half of first grade is getting them to grow up rather quickly and some act very young after spending a summer at home/in daycare depending on what it was like. Ask to see a portfolio if they have one and look at the kind of work they are capable of doing at the beginning of the year.

    All of that said, I love the lower grades! You get many more hugs, notes that say you are the "best techer evr" (intentional), and it is more active. I subbed in fourth grade after I had finished my student teaching and I was so bored just watching the kids get their work done!
     
  6. maroki

    maroki Comrade

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    Mar 31, 2008

    Well, I'm partial to 1st grade because I teach 1st grade, and I think it is an awesome age. ;) I completely agree with all of your pros...the class size is supposed to be nicer but I have 25 this year and that is pretty big for 1st grade, and they are a lot to handle. I love teaching young students because I love seeing them go from nothing to grasping the building blocks of math and literacy that they'll continue to use in older grades.

    I think if you would decide to switch to 1st grade, you should be willing to stick with it for 2 years. The first year will be a huge period of adjustment and you won't truly get to see how wonderful first grade is until you get past all the first year work and into your second year. I loved first grade last year (in my first year) and I can't believe how much better it is this year now that I know what I'm doing!! :)
     
  7. mclaugcr

    mclaugcr Companion

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    Apr 1, 2008

    I have to say that I love teaching 4th grade. I think it is a terrific age. I like that they are more independent than 1st graders. I also like that in general they still like school and are interested in learning. Personally, I don't think I would ever be able to go down to 1st. That many 6-7 year olds scares me!:eek:

    Just kidding. But I agree with the other posters that you should do what feels right to you.
     
  8. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    Apr 1, 2008

    I teach first but have worked a lot with third and fourth (and taught eighth last year), so I can relate a bit to your position. I'd honestly be able to go either way, but I can understand the fear about having to build up your resources for the younger kids. I think you have to consider the skills you're working on. In first, it's SO much based on teaching HOW to read and HOW to do math... decoding, letter sounds, number sense, etc. In fourth, you're refining those skills. You're in a powerful position either way. Which do you feel more comfortable doing?
     
  9. Carebear05

    Carebear05 Comrade

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    Apr 1, 2008

    Well Ive never actually taught 4th because this is my 1st yr, but I did practicums with 4th and I subbed in 4th. I used to want that age, but now Im not so sure. I mean there are def. times that I wish I had older kids because of the independency, the ability to be able to read things on their own, the ability to joke around with, etc. But like someone said above, in 1st you will get hugs all the time. Even if you yell at them constantly, they still love you. They learn SO much in 1st grade- from learning to read, learning to write sentences/paragraphs, etc. Not to mention, yes you can have fun with 4th graders, but 1st graders find most anything amusing. Not to mention, you can sing and dance and act silly with them and they wont think you're an idiot. They'll join in! I actually always said Id never wanna teach 1st because I always heard how hard it was. Yes, it can be, but I dont think id give it up now!
     
  10. USDtechclass08

    USDtechclass08 New Member

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    Apr 1, 2008

    What a huge jump. I have only taught third and fourth grades and I found moving just one grade to be very different. The student to teacher ratio would be wonderful but I think that the type of teaching that you like to do will ultimatley determine which age group you want to teach.
    I can't imagine going down to first grade. I have the utmost respect for teachers with the gentle nurturing and patience that it takes to teach the little ones to not only read, but to sit, line-up, raise their hand and all of the rest of the basic classroom skills.
     

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