Is third grade the "hardest" grade to teach?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by forkids, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    There is a third grade opening in our district and I am debating applying for it. I have always heard that third is the most difficult and stressful grade to teach because of testing requirements, etc. What is your opinion/advice about this?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Third grade can be difficult to teach because it is the first year of high stakes testing. However, I don't think that it is generally more difficult to teach than the other grades. Plus, there are some great perks for teaching third grade: the students are a bit more independent than younger grades, they haven't developed the attitudes of the older grades, and they still love school.
     
  4. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Every grade has its difficulties.

    What grade do you teach now?
     
  5. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I had only taught high school and this year I'm teaching 3rd along with other grade levels. At first I totally dreaded those little kids, but now I'm really enjoying them! It was a big switch for me, and it took some getting used to. I over planned so much and got really frustrated when we couldn't get through the stuff I wanted to. Now, I know to take my time and plan to only get 2 or 3 things done per class.

    My school is a little different, all kids switch classes, so I only have the 3rd graders twice a week for 90 min. I would never want to teach in a normal elementary school because I wouldn't be comfortable with having the same group of kids all day long every day.

    On a more personal note- I never wanted kids, until these absolutely delightful little buggers starting winning me over. I'm still not sure about it, but those cute little smiles make me think...:)
     
  6. 1st-yr-teacher

    1st-yr-teacher Comrade

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    Third grade is a hard grade to teach from what I have heard. However, if this is your first year, it will be tough no matter what grade you teach! With jobs as scarce and hard to come by these days, I would try at anything! In Georgia, I know a lot of districts are on hiring freezes.

    I think you should apply. It won't hurt anything and will give you experience in interviewing.
     
  7. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I love third grade! I guess it depends on your/your school's attitude toward the assessments, though. We don't put a lot of stress on them (even though they are high-stakes), and my students usually do well on them. I can see how it might be stressful, but the kids at this age are wonderful--reading and learning to be independent, but still wonderfully curious and (mostly) attitude-free.
     
  8. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I posted something very similar to mopar on the thread in the 3rd grade forum...
     
  9. 1st-yr-teacher

    1st-yr-teacher Comrade

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    I guess I didn't read carefully enough. It sounds like you already have a job and you were thinking of asking to transfer. Ooops! So sorry! I thought this thread was under job seekers.

    Good luck on your decision!
     
  10. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I love third grade too. I wouldn't consider it the hardest grade to teach at all... in fact, I find it one of the easiest to teach! (But I think what makes it easy, is how much I enjoy that grade... if you enjoy it, things will usually be easier!)
     
  11. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I loved teaching third grade. I've taught third, fourth, and fifth and I liked third and fourth the best.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Last year I moved from grade 2...no testing to third gade...standardized tests. It's not harder, it's just different. Why are you afraid of what's hard?
     
  13. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    In Louisiana 3rd isn't a high stakes grade. (4th and 8th are) I have taught 4th grade for 11 years. When I swapped schools I had the chance to trade grades and chose to still go into 4th. If you teach what you are supposed to, how you are supposed to - it's just a test. I love 4th and can't imagine changing. I would take the test out of the picture and just look at that age group of kids to make the decision.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    For me, kindergarten or grade 1 would definitely be the "hardest". As others have said, it's different for everyone.
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Teaching 3rd grade is awesome! I did it for over a dozen years and I don't regret one. Third graders are much more independent than the younger grades, while they still love their teacher and love to learn. It is an incredibly important year where it is important to make sure their reading and math skills are in place for fourth grade.

    I don't agree it is the hardest grade to teach--although it does have its challenges like any grade. It does help to have a teacher who is patient, has a willingness to break skills into simpler steps, and doesn't mind answering their questions of all the things they are still so curious about.

    If you don't mind children around that age level and you are a dedicated teacher, you will love teaching 3rd grade. I know I did.
     
  16. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Grade 3 is magical because the majority of them have solid reading, writing and math skills. Grade 3 is the year they learn how to use and apply these skills.

    I just found out we had a grade 3 position available. I requested to stay in grade 1, but I kind of wish I had said I was willing to move because grade 3 is my dream.
     
  17. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I merged your two threads since they were both questioning the same thing. :)
     
  18. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    :yeahthat:
     
  19. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Third grade is the best. I think K-2 is harder...hands down. They know how to do some things by 3rd grade. :) Testing does suck...but....whatever....I'll deal with the test in exchange for their maturity.
     
  20. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I would not say third is the hardest to teach. I would say it is challenging as any grade can be. It was the grade I taught my first year teaching and I would say in some of ways it was the easiest grade level I have taught. The children do not need the social skills and behavior training of the younger grades and do not have the attitude problems as much as the upper grades. The curriculum is not crazy busy like fifth grade can be. I gave my second graders the first year of taking the standardized test this year and it was not hard. The biggest difficulty was I had to read the entire math test and thus stand for a long time.
     
  21. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    I love second and third, they are my favourite.
     
  22. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    This is from my perspective only.

    At my school, the only data used to move students on from 2nd to 3rd is their DRA level, and even then, students with low DRA's are pushed forward. What ends up happening is that kids who struggled all throughout 2nd grade get "caught" by their first EOG and sometimes end up being retained. That happened to 3 of my students this year. They "didn't belong" in 3rd in the first place, and come end of 3rd grade, fingers are pointing at you from all directions.

    It can be enormously stressful and sometimes makes me angry.
     
  23. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I've taught 1-4th and enjoy 3rd the most... but we don't have testing in my school! Maybe that would make a difference!
     
  24. Toast

    Toast Companion

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    For this exact reason, I am leaving 3rd grade (which I have loved teaching for the past 4 years) to go to 2nd. Beginning with the 3rd grade class of 2014 3rd grade teachers must legally retain anyone who doesn't pass our end of the year standardized test.

    It's unfortunate.

    However, to reply to the original post.......3rd grade is wonderful, but if you state, district and school put a lot of emphasis on your abilities as a teacher on standardized testing, you may be miserable and made to doubt yourself.
     
  25. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I'm moving from 4th to 3rd and everyone keeps telling me to be happy about it because 3rd is easier. (I'm in NY) They say 3rd is easier because the test is less demanding, it's not high stakes (4th and 8th are here too), less testing (4th graders here take a science test too), and you don't have to show "growth." (the difference between their 3rd and 4th or 4th and 5th grades.)
     
  26. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I student taught 3rd and LOVED it! You can really see individual personalities in the kiddos, and they are beginning to develop a lot of individuality.

    I have been told that first is the hardest grade to teach in terms of the amount of work and everything that has to be taught. I dunno. I've been in first grade for four years now, lol.
     
  27. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    I've taught 1st grade for the past 3 years, and I was hoping to get a 3rd grade position for this upcoming year. I think that it's a great age, but I think it would be more difficult than K-2 with the demands of the high stakes testing. Every grade will have it's ups and downs. I am teaching Kindergarten this year and I never thought I would teach K but I am excited!
     
  28. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I am thrilled to be teaching 3rd next year! It's absolutely my favorite age. The kids are a little more mature and a little less needy, but they are still right before that age where they start to get "too cool" for everything. You can still do fun little projects and they still like being at school and learning just for the sake of learning. I would like 2nd just for the no testing thing, but like a pp said, at least it's somewhat less responsibility with not having to show growth from the previous year of testing (in my state, testing starts in 3rd).
     

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