Please tell me about teaching K/1st

Discussion in 'General Education' started by OptimusPrime, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. OptimusPrime

    OptimusPrime New Member

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    Nov 28, 2012

    I'm a 28 year old student thinking about switching from a writing major to an education major. I would love some input from Actual Teachers!

    If I teach anything, I think I'd like to teach kindergarten or 1st grade. I have experience working with kids between four and seven, and I really enjoy working with them. I have worked in a school as a teacher's assistant, mostly for the Pre-k, K and 1st classes. I also ran the after school program for K-2. So, I've never had a classroom of my own, but I have some experience with being the sole adult in charge of 20 five to seven year olds.

    Every day care or school job I've ever had has been very tiring, and fairly stressful, but those have been the jobs that I loved the most, and in which I found myself most fulfilled. I'm good with that age, and I think I'd be a pretty great Kindy teacher. :)

    I realize there will be differences in every state, district and school, but if you could give me a picture of how an average day goes for you, I would really appreciate it. What does an average day look like for you? How much autonomy do you have in your classroom-- how much are you regulated in what you do? What are your stress levels like? Basically, what is it like to teach Kindergarten or 1st grade?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Nov 28, 2012

    I would advise you not to expect to teach at a certain grade if you are planning on teaching elementary school. The likelihood of you getting K or first your first year teaching is at best two out of six. Most people are hired by the school or district and placed at whatever grade the school needs a teacher in.
     
  4. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 28, 2012

    Since you have some experiene with the young ones, why not volunteer at a school working with the older grade students?

    I taught kinder for two years (and student taught kinder too) before I was moved up to fifth. I was in shock at first when my principal told me about the move (had to, low enrollment numbers). In the end, it was WONDERFUL! I REALLY enjoyed that class. I went on to be a 2-6th grade math resource teacher and now I teach at an afterschool program (k-5th).

    If you want to see what a typical day is like, I'm sure there are many websites and blogs on the internet that give an overview of what their day is like.
     
  5. MrsCK

    MrsCK Companion

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    Nov 29, 2012

    This is my first year teaching first grade and last year was my first year teaching (3rd grade). First graders have almost zero independence. They need you to walk them through almost everything. They are very sweet and love to please you. They will give you hugs, tap on you for your attention, and in turn give you lots of germs. :\ They learn a lot very quickly though, and you will see their reading levels increase so much as you move on.

    After these first few months of school, I can tell you I really miss my third graders and their independence. First graders are sweet but they need so much babying. Before I got my first teaching job I was CONVINCED that I was meant to teach the babies, k-2. Now I am sure that I am not meant for k-2.
     
  6. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Nov 29, 2012

    I actually had the opposite experience. I was sure I was more in line with teaching the upper grades. I ended up moving from school to school and was moved from fifth to first. After teaching first for a year I realized I happier with teaching first than fifth. At this point it would be a shock to go back to the upper grades.

    First graders need to be walked through everything over and over and over again all year long. If things start going well and you stop revisiting expectations they will revert to what you do not want them to be doing. They are loving and enjoy learning pretty much anything. They still are at the point of finding adults to be more of a priority rather than peers. If they have serious behavior problems they are not at the point of seeing the peer buy in as high importance or understanding the abstract idea of the affect of their behavior on others. They often need lots of help and support in social skill building and problem solving. If the children have serious disabilities or behavior issues teaching kinder or first you may be the first one who is bringing it to the attention of moms and dads. First grade has no break time. Fifth grade there was tons of correcting and curriculum management. First grade the grading is usually easy, the curriculum has more give to it than the upper grades. The attention to the children needs to be constant in first. In fifth grade if you forgot to bring all stuff to the front with you the students can handle you walking back to your desk to get the stuff. First grade if you pause for a second the children are into other stuff. They need to be actively engaged with an activity before there is a give spot-once they are actively engaged you usually need to keep on them to make sure none of them forgot to start or have gotten side tracked. You need to set them up with a clear guideline for what to do when done.

    Your questions about autonomy and regulation are specific district to district school to school. The only part of the regulation, which is in all public school districts is fulfilling the first grade standards. How it is done is specific to the expectations of the place a person works. Some schools are very regimented. Some are very free flow; however if you are not able to fulfill the expectations in test scores or expected growth the free flow can bite quite hard.
     

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