Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by otterpop, Feb 2, 2016.
Feb 2, 2016
I'm in the middle. I'd love to be able to be able to refine what I do more by teaching it multiple times, and it'd allow focus in on specific teacher strengths (i.e. I would teach math, which I feel much more strong in than some of the others on my team, and they would teach writing / reading / SS...). It would also reduce prep work by bounds. That being said, I'd feel there'd be some loss of the holistic teaching (the part I'd miss the most), and of much flexibility in scheduling. I like being able to take a block of time as a class, and reflect on a rough moment, or work on growth mindset...something that'd be not as possible with grouping. There's lots of benefits and drawbacks either way, and I think it truly depends on the team, students, and the overall school environment.
I'm departmentalized. Kinder on up is departmentalized on my campus. I miss having my kids all day. I'm not seeing benefits for the students. They are lower than kids who came from self contained classrooms.
I'm not a fan.
I've done both. I much prefer to keep my kiddos all day. I develop a better relationship with them, and know them better academically when I have them all day.
This is what I'm missing. Plus, I think a lack of consistency in classroom management styles is really unsettling for young kids. Even teachers who communicate well will have different ways of doing things.
I agree with both of you. I'm in a unique situation in that I co-teach with a team of teachers who are departmentalized. So, I go with the same group of students to both of the gen ed teachers. The absolute only benefit I see is reduced planning for the teachers (them, not me!). I guess I could agree that it also prepares students for middle school, but I'm not sure that's a good enough reason.
Here are all of the reasons I dislike it:
1) Classroom management variances (as you've already mentioned): The kids don't know what to expect or how to behave. They have to vary their behavior depending on who they are with. One teacher doesn't allow talking, and the other does. One teacher makes students leave finished tests on their desks until everyone is finished, and the other collects them as students finish. It's confusing for me, let alone the students.
2) Building relationships (again, as you've already mentioned): It's tough for either teacher to form a solid bond with the students when they don't have them for the full day. This is especially true for the students who get pulled for resource or other services.
3) Scheduling: In most cases, I'd argue that more time needs to be spent on ELA than math, given that ELA includes small group reading, whole group reading/read alouds writing, grammar, and spelling/phonics. If you switch classes, then you have to allocate the same amount of time for each subject, and you really just don't need as much time for math as you do for ELA. Sure, you can find ways to use the time, but it would be better spent having a longer ELA block and a shorter math block.
4) Transitions: I swear I've never seen so much wasted time on transitions. One class lines up ready to switch, and the other isn't ready for another 5-10 minutes. Not to mention that breakfast takes away from whichever subject the students have in the morning, and bathroom breaks are ridiculously long.
5) Grading: Teachers have different grading policies. Again, like with classroom management, this is very confusing for the students and the parents!
I know that kids will have to get used to much of this in secondary, but I just don't think it's necessary in elementary. I'm not a fan at all.
All of this is SO true! So many good points.
I don't see my school ever switching, though. Too many teachers would freak.
That would happen in my school too.
Feb 3, 2016
I currently team teach in 5th grade, and really wish I was self-contained, for all the reasons listed above, especially this:
I always try to get my classes ready to switch on time, out of respect for the other teacher. Almost on a daily basis, I end up waiting with a class in the hallway for an extra 5-10 minutes while the other teacher finishes up. So frustrating, and such a waste of instructional time.
Feb 4, 2016
Dr. John Hattie researched the research - over 800 studies and reports - trying to separate fact from dogma regarding teaching practices which produced the most achievement. Team teaching was listed along with several other practices which showed an effect size of 0.10 - 0.30 or a "net loss" in achievement (0.30 - 0.45 = break even; 0.75+ = large). If one believes Hattie's research is a pointer to adopting effective teaching practices then it would seem team teaching is a questionable practice or, at the least, in need of examination.
Feb 5, 2016
Like because I have a 4-9 license in LA and SS. I would not have a job if we didn't do it like that
So, it's great for you... but I'm wondering - do you believe that it actually benefits your students?
I teach Grade 7 in a K-8 school. In an ideal world, I would teach my kids everything but French, Phys Ed and Music (they currently have other teachers for those subjects, plus History, Geography and Science). Some of my students cope okay with all of the different teachers, but some certainly find it a challenge. I also love the flexibility I have if I have my own class most of the day--there are so many more opportunities to integrate subjects or to extend or compress a lesson if need be. Some of our youngest students have up to 5 teachers in a week--far too many in my opinion.
We considered going departmentalized this year in 5th. We only have two classes so we were going to do a modified thing with an ELA/SS teacher and a math/science teacher. I posted about it on here. At the time, I was very overwhelmed with my first year in 5th grade from 1st, and at a school where we make our own curriculum and resources. It was really a planning time thing. I am so glad we didn't do it. I love having the same kids all day and making those connections. I love having flexibility in my schedule. I love being their ONLY teacher (other than specials) and being able to run my classroom however works for us without having to worry about what the kids are doing with other teachers. I don't think they need to "prepare for middle school" (always the argument with 5th). I think instead they can benefit from one last year to build connections with their classmates and teacher and to be in a safe place as they grow and mature towards adolescence. They know that when they go to middle school everything will be different. They will be fine. I really think a lot of my job as a self-contained 5th grade teacher is building up their confidence, social awareness, empathy, and responsibility so they can be successful in middle school and beyond.
Departmentalization is very rare below 6th grade in both areas of CA I've taught in. I'm always stunned to hear about it in primary grades, because I've never heard of that here.
Feb 6, 2016
Everyone is going to dislike my post, but I really enjoy it for a number of reasons. For starters, I'm a middle school licensed teacher so I prefer to have the upper elementary kids switching classes to prepare for middle school. Another positive note is, yes, you see more kids, but you also have far less planning. One lesson plan vs. 5. I'd take the one, but that's just me. Next, I would say that you have another teacher that can back you up with decisions (in a good scenario). For example, if a student is distracted or disruptive, you have another teacher that can support you. Finally, you have another teacher there to do parent teacher conferences with. That way, you can tag team ideas and focus on the student in the classes.
Also, it does benefit the students. Not only are they getting the social aspect of elementary school in a safe positive learning environment, but they are able to slowly ease into 6th grade the following year. I saw the post above mine so I had to post about the students. I mean after all- I became a teacher for them, not for myself.
^^^ Same here!
To be honest, the way math is taught today is awful and I really don't like it.
As a new teacher I love having a partner to tag team with. I have example of night and day. My math partner is military. She's super super strict and I'm more laid back. I'm very firm with my kids but then again I teach ELA so the kids get that creative outlook. It works for the kids IMO because despite it being so different they're still learning about themselves and how they like things and they get a different mindset and atmosphere twice a day.
I'm like the students in that I get restless after about 2 hours with them becasue sweet though they may be they can be hardheaded little toots and I like having the break to try again with a fresh group.
It's like having a second child. You get a do over
I was self contained in SPED last year and hated it among other things. In general I felt spread too thin. In gen ed the same thing. Now I feel like I can really hone in on ELA and become an expert at it rather than trying to do everything. I know myself and I would feel like I would be teaching everything halfassed because I would have to teach it all.
Does that mean you both do parent conferences for ALL the kids? YIKES. Our class sizes are far too big (32 next year) for that to ever work with us!
I actually don't think departmentalization is detrimental in upper elementary (though I believe below 4th is sketchy, and lower primary is no good). I just also don't think it's any better than self-contained in upper elementary. Our kids do just fine when they get to middle school. One of our two feeder middle schools actually has a different 6th grade model where the kids have a core teacher for ELA/SS for half the day and then switch teachers in the afternoon for the other subjects. So they still get to ease into middle school that way. But even our kids at the other middle school who have 7 separate classes in 6th grade adjust fine.
The planning in self-contained is rough, but I think I would feel spread too thin having 96 students (next year we will have three classes of 32). I prefer knowing less students very well.
One of the biggest negatives for me is that you would need a partner/partners that you could work very well with and trust. That kind of situation makes me nervous, probably because I've had so much unexpected transience with teaching partners and teams in the past.
It would also never work with my school's schedule. Our specials aren't in a neat little block like I've seen other places.
I really think this is going to come down to the personal preference and personality of each teacher, as well as the situation at their school.
I have 64 students. I have to attend all conferences. We don't have a set parent conference day so we have to fit them in during our planning period. There are weeks I don't have a planning period due to conferences.
It is nice that I'm not the only one saying I see this or that, but I think third graders and below don't need eight to ten teachers a day.
Feb 7, 2016
I don't think students at any age benefit from that many teachers. Our high schools operate on a semester system with 4 classes a semester; I don't think elementary students need to have more teachers than they will encounter at the high school level.
I agree, I only want two teachers per grade level for upper grades. We do planning together for the 60 students we have. We have two days for conferences. Plus, conferences sometimes happen for just one teacher. I agree 3rd grade and below should NEVER be departmentalized.
I wish we did that here. That's much more similar to college. I really think it's ridiculous that our middle and high school kids have 6-7 teachers at once.
The one system that I like is when the teacher rotates and not the students.
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