Teaming or self contained?

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by knitter63, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Apr 4, 2008


    I know that this may be posted somewhere, but I would love to know your thoughts on teaming vs. self contained in 5th grade. My school is currently self contained, and I have previously taught by teaming at my former school. I see benefits and downfalls of each, but lately I am wondering if I will be more effective if I teach only one main subject, like Math, to all of the 5th grade. Thanks!:)
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Apr 4, 2008

    The schools around here start teaming in the 4th grade. In 4th grade, the students switch between two teachers. In 5th they have three teachers. I student taught in a 3rd grade room that teamed, and I didn't see any problems that that school had with it. I'm like you, I would much prefer focusing on one or two subjects so that I could go more in depth with my classes.
     
  4. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    I observed a 3rd grade class this week, that was teamed with the class next door. The teacher I observed prefers to teach the Language Arts & Social Studies while the other teacher prefers to teach Math & Science. The kids are divided by high & low skill abilities so that the teachers can focus on the kids that are in the same level at once. The students on the lower level go at a slower pace. This appears to be help meet the students learning needs with minimum disruption.

    It's the first year they are doing it. Both teachers came up with the idea & have the support of the school admin.
     
  5. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I think it totally depends on what you want to do and who your "partner" is. Both ways work. And both ways don't work.

    I got tired of teaming and love having my own class this year. The flexibility in time management alone is worth it to me.
     
  6. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    It is up to you,which you feel more comfortable with. I have done both and there are positives and negatives in both. If you are going to team,it is very important to pick the right person you will feel comfortable working with,or the year can be a disaster for everyone involved
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Apr 4, 2008

    I really prefer doing teaming. The school I work for has teams and I think allows for teachers who are really strong in a subject to focus on that subject... which in turn, really helps the students. I love teaching science because I'm interested in it, but while I can teach English, Math, etc... my strongest subject will always remain science.

    Plus certain methods work best for certain subjects---I've only been prepared for science teaching methods (with some literacy background), so I still believe I would be most effective as a science teacher.
     
  8. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I prefer teaming. However, my grade level does not want to do it :down:

    I think it is better for the kids!
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Apr 5, 2008

    See I never thought about teaming for kids who are in grades under 7--- it was just never done when I went to school or when I was doing student teaching. Now the place where I'm going to start working at in Sept, actually starts it in 4th grade! *shock* Actually, they might even do it in the elementary school (pre-k thru 3rd grade), but I'm not sure how it's set up there.

    Some of the teachers here said there's cons to teaming--- I was wondering if you could elaborate on the cons.
     
  10. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Apr 5, 2008

    Bioangel,
    The cons when I team taught in 4th grade were simple: time constraints, the number of parents and personalities I had to deal with, and my students getting "tired" of the teaming half way through the year. Honestly, my kids would whine and complain that they had to go! Also, the constant forgetting of supplies-even though we reminded them daily to bring them. I know the last one is nitpicking, but it does get old. The pros were simple too-I was able to focus on a subject I felt comfortable and successful teaching. On the flip side though, I became very uncomfortable teaching a subject that I now have to teach. Oh, can you see my confusion??? I am seriously losing sleep over this! I want to do what is best for my students, and I don't want to stress them out further-the pressure of the OAT's is enough. On a side note-I absolutely LOVE my fellow 5th grade teachers. I have never had this kind of collaboration in my 15 years of teaching. They are truly dear and close friends, and we always seem to be on the same page.
    Thanks for letting me vent! I read all of your comments and take them to heart. I will definitely be talking to my colleagues on Monday!!
     
  11. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Glad you could vent--- I hope you don't mind a newbie teacher picking things apart :sorry:

    Time constraints--- what exactly do you mean by this? I would think knowing you have this set of time to do the subject would be more helpful than having to break up a day on your own to get all the subjects done. (At least to me) But perhaps you mean something else??

    Parents--- I can understand that having 100+ kids to deal with can be really hard. What my school does is breaks students up into classes of 16 for homerooms. Then there are 2 homeroom teachers--- so 8 per student on average. If there are any problems with students, the homeroom teacher will call the parents (not myself). So in reality, it cuts down on alot of hard work---though I assume parents will want a conference with the actual teacher if something really needs to be handled.

    I know not every school will adopt something like that--- I just happen to work at a small private school.

    Students-- Having to deal with 100+ a day instead of just around 20-30 can be stressful, so I do understand that. Alot more to remember and I learned this lesson back when I was teaching the same lesson 4 times in 7th grade. You leave off at 4 different points depending on the actual class' needs. But I found as long as I wrote down on a sticky note where we left off, I could easily pick up the next day and plan for the rest of the week.

    What do you mean students were getting "tired" of teaming? I would think students would like getting out of their seats and moving around--- get some exercise at least. Plus it starts teaching them extra responsibility--- why wait another year to keep them from learning it?

    Thanks for letting me pick it apart--- it'll be the situation I'm in come September so I'm trying to figure out any issues I might have with it now.
     
  12. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    In my experience, time was an issue when you couldn't get everything in in the allotted time. You can run over and shorten or eliminate something. You have to let them go, whether you are done or not.
     
  13. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Bioangel,
    I have no problem with a newbie-hey, we are all in the same boat, right?
    Okay, let me respond to your pickings:
    Time:what I meant is that when I team taught, often the kids were really into the lesson, and I had to stop cold. The next day I had to try to pick up that momentum again. When you are self contained, you can "go over" your scheduled time, and adjust your schedule easier. Same goes for the surprise assemblies you may have.
    Students: I didn't mind having 75+ students. Actually, they kept me motiviated! When I said the kids did not want to go, they really didn't. They were used to my teaching style, and even though this year I have a great team of 5th grade teachers, we do still have our own personality. I tend to be really dramatic, really goofy yet strict. The kids know what to expect every day. It just so happened that when I team taught at my former school, one of the teachers was less flexible than I was, and my kids resented it. After all, they were only 9.And since we were teaming, we had the same set of rules to make consistency, and often I felt most of my behavior issues came from her classroom (dealing with her parents included). Even though I don't expect that to happen with the group of teachers I am with, it is still in the back of my mind.
    Parents: see above!! I had a great relationship with my homeroom kids' parents, yet they often complained to me about my team member. It got to be very difficult for me-she was my friend. I ended up taking the easy way out and bid. I love your set up-I wish we could do the same! I teach in a large, urban district, and most of my kids come from lower class incomes.
    I hope that once I talk to my colleagues and principal, we can come to a workable plan, whatever it may be.
    One last thought to pick your brain: what do you think about teaming for math by ablility level(low, medium and high)? That was my other thought, since that is where we have the most difficulty.
     
  14. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    YES, YES YES!!! This is what I meant!!:)
     
  15. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    I team-taught last year and am self-contained this year. I think first and foremost, you have to trust and have a strong working relationship with your teammate(s). If not, it can't work. My teammate and I worked well when I was willing to do things her way, but she wasn't very flexible in trying to change what she had done for several years if I had a different idea or suggestion. This became a big issue for me.

    Time is also an issue as others mentioned... Now that I'm self-contained, I'm able to weave whatever I want into student centers and jobs during language arts. I don't have to rearrange a whole lot if we have an unexpected assembly or if students need extra work time for certain assignments. If your team is flexible about things like that, great, but then again, you don't want to give the same test to two classes on different days because your schedules are off.

    I didn't mind the large # of students... it made it much easier to deal with the kids who had more emotional drama and attitude. Behavior management has to be aligned, though... Consequences should remain the same all day long, otherwise you may have issues with some students who know they can get away with certain behaviors/low-quality work with some teachers. For me, it was always easier to just communicate with parents myself... it's hard to describe things that didn't happen in front of you.

    I have done ability grouping once in first grade, when we had a large # of students who were severely below grade level. It worked really well for us that particular year. By fifth grade, if those strugglers still can't do basic addition and your high students are ready to multiply decimals and three by two-digit numbers, it makes sense that you divide the students by ability in order to more directly meet their needs. If your administration and team is cool with it, you could have some really good results.

    To end long-winded post: I have to say I prefer being self-contained. I have come a long way in my math and science teaching (the two subjects I didn't teach last year) and I've grown to really love teaching both... as well as social studies. I think I'd get bored of teaching just one or two subjects after a while. But if I had a teammate I really meshed well with, I'd consider teaming again.
     
  16. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I think perhaps this is just something I've been prepared to do. Since I'm trained to teach 7-12, the thought of having a class of the same kids ALL DAY terrifies me. Knowing that I have a short time span to get a few objectives done really helps me to focus my planning. Plus there's always tomorrow to make up anything that I've missed.
     
  17. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Another issue to think about is a teammate getting sick or pregnant.

    And homework and make-up work issues. When someone is out or didn't do their homework, you can find time during the day for the student to get it done if they're in your class all day.

    It really comes down to how you feel at that point in your teaching. I may go back to team teaching in the future. Right now, I just like having my homeroom with me all day.
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Do you think that schools tend to build their schedules and policies around how they have their classrooms?

    To make sure students have time to make up hw and tests during the day, we would keep them in after school or during their lunch period. Also, one day per week was designated as that subject's after school extra help and make up work day after school.

    Do you think if such scheduling was made it would make team teaching easier on teachers?
     
  19. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I haven't even met my other fellow 5th grade teachers--- but I have been introduced to the 5th grade science teacher I'm taking over for and the 4th grade science teacher, who is right next door (and will probably be rather inspirational to me since she has a similar background as mine). I've met everybody else in the science dept as well---but otherwise only a handful of random people around the school (and of course I totally forgot their names by now :eek: ). I'm setting up observation hours to spend more time in the school before the year is over so I'm hoping that I'll get to meet more people.

    I actually really liked being able take themes from other classrooms and incorporate them into my own lessons. Which I know would probably be a million times easier if I was self-contained teaching, but then again I prefer teaching science over anything else.

    Ah yes I remember giving out a test in 7th grade while student teaching and every other period we had the classes we had a fire drill. My cooperating teacher was rather po'ed. And then had to apologize to her fellow team teachers for keeping kids longer to finish the tests. So that can be a real pain.

    Ya the teaching books I'm reading say the same thing... I just can't imagine me being the same at 8am that I am at 2:30pm. :p Something cool my school has is that it switches up their class schedule... meaning I won't always have my 1st class in the morning--- some days I'll have them in the afternoon and some days I'll have my afternoon classes in the morning. Which does mean I have to be on my toes and watch how I react to the kids.
    Something again I'll have to discuss with the teacher on how it works that the homeroom teacher calls the parents. I have every desire to want to have open lines of communication with parents--- except the ones who will talk my ear off about how precious their son or daughter is and how its my fault, not theirs :rolleyes:
    That's what I'm use to as well--- having my classes broken up based on how well students can do. And I do find this is a GREAT way of teaching--- I feel awful when I have advanced students in my class but I can't teach advanced things to them because of the rest of the class just isn't there yet. And if I see a single student struggling I would prefer to devote time to helping bring him up to par but I know that would be rather hard.
     
  20. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Apr 8, 2008

    My school did teaming with the 5th graders. I think all of the fifth grade teachers felt like they wee too young and teaming lead to more discipline problems. I'm pretty sure they are going to go self-contained, if not next year, then the year after.
     
  21. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Apr 8, 2008

    :rofl:

    I think fifth graders "wee" too young also.

    Sorry, couldn't help it. Would be nice if no one had to go to the bathroom....I have no idea where I'm going with this.
     

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