Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by bdteach, Jun 19, 2007.
Jun 19, 2007
What are your thoughts on a new teacher taking a split class her (or his) first year?
My first-ever job was a 1/2 split ... for which I was hired a week before school started. I was so glad to get the job that I didn't think twice about analyzing whether it was a good thing to do or not. In retrospect (4 years ago), I think I did an awful job and feel like I did my 2nd graders in that class a huge disservice - I had no idea how to differentiate and mostly geared everything to the 1st graders, which were about two-thirds of the class. And with it being my first year of teaching, everything was hard, so I don't know that it was any harder to do a split than it would have been to have all one age.
That said, I had a wonderful teaching partner who helped me immensely, and the entire school that year was multi-age, so I wasn't dealing with anything any different from anyone else. If you've been offered this job and are trying to decide, don't overanalyze it too much - if it's a chance to teach and it's an age-range you want, go for it!
Jun 20, 2007
No, just kidding.
I'm an expert! HA! I am a first year teacher, with a 5/6 split. I was hired the day before back-to-school night, a week after school started. I literally gave my spiel to parents of kids I had never met.
The year started off as a NIGHTMARE, but I've made it through with only 8 days left. Really, it was very difficult, I won't lie; but, I knew nothing else so I had to make it work. My team was wonderful and had experience with splits in the past so they saved me. Once you figure out a daily routine, it becomes second nature. The hardest thing about a split was trying to get to know two completely different curriculums. At first, I tried teaching math to both grade levels at once. I soon realized that it was much easier to teach two different lessons. You must must must find lots of independent activities that each grade level can work on while you teach lessons. And you must let a lot of things go. I came into my year having all sorts of ideas for projects and activities that just didn't work for a combo. It was a little depressing at times.
It all depends on what kind of class you have also. I had very low 5th graders and average to high 6th graders and LOTS of behavior problems. I also had 47 kids come in and out of my classroom (only 26 at a time) throughout the year which was tough.
Please feel free to pm me if you need any help or have questions.
I have to completely agree with the above posters. I was in a split this past year and it was my first year. I didn't know any different and didn't think much about it until January or so when I realized "This is HARD!" Mainly around January my 3rd graders became "too cool" to be in the same room as 2nd graders, who were sitting there wondering what the problem was.
I had the same thought processes of the above poster in that I tried to line up the curriculum for math and present like topics and then I usually pulled my third graders on the floor and went over their topic for anyone else who needed it (my 2nd graders were high and picked up on things right away and my 3rd graders were extremely low and needed the extra boost). I also taught two completely different math topics at times.
I think overall it went as best as it could've gone for a new teacher who had no idea what they were doing. I am sure a more experienced teacher could've done a better job but I was just so happy to take a job in the town I wanted. Looking back I have to admit that I was a bit bitter in the fact that another experienced teacher didn't take on the split class instead of letting a new teacher take it. But at the same time I had reaallllyyy well behaved students because they fit the combo class to have no behavior problems.
I wanted the students to become really independent and did so with being really organized about early finisher projects and working in groups and pairs and all that. As the year progressed I realized that the students could do a lot of the little things aroun the classroom that I was doing. Such as giving two different spelling tests, I finally picked a 3rd grader who was getting 100% on all the pretests to give the 3rd graders their test while I was giving the 2nd grade one, etc.
Anyway hope that helped some!
Jun 25, 2007
I'm the type of person who enjoys a challenge and often bites off more than she can chew...and I always figure out a way to get the job done. I imagine this opportunity will be no different, but just wanted to make sure from some of you know who've been there before. I am very excited about the assignment and am looking forward to a great year.
Someone with more experience might be able to go with the challenges of a split class. I've taught one and it was very challenging. We just hired someone for a split 1/2 class who has no experience below 5th. It'll be interesting. Not that I don't think she can do it, but with everything else you go through your first year, why add more?
I taught a 1-2 multi-age class this year and half of last year. I had taught for 2 years prior to that and it was a challenge. But I think any class will have challenges. I'm thankful that the multi-age program at our school has been discontinued and I'll teach a straight grade!
One piece of advice I got from multi-age teachers running a very successful program at another school was to focus on the higher grade and "trickle down" to the lower grade. However, I think you need to be more careful than I was if you follow this advice: I had really really high 2nd graders (I referred 3 of them for gifted/talented) and really really low 1st graders (I referred 3 of them for reading support), and I'm not sure how much of the "trickle" was successful!
Jun 27, 2007
Our school has a split 2/3 and we all thought it was a horrible idea but... it actually was a big success. The success factor is that it was a teacher who had already taught 2nd so she was familiar with that curriculum and she had an AWESOME FULL TIME aide. The aide was the factor to make it all work. You need to have someone there to help when you are focussing on the other grade work. The aide would have centers based off the skills taught for the grade the teacher was not working with. The aide would take them out of the room so there was no distraction!