Twin Stories

Discussion in 'General Education' started by JimG, May 21, 2020.

  1. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    May 21, 2020

    My wife and I have fraternal twins that are currently six months old (girl and boy). Something came up in conversation last night that I had not thought of yet. When we enroll them in school, will we want them in the same class or in different classes?

    I thought it would be interesting to get some elementary teachers’ perspectives on what they have experienced in teaching twins, as it pertains to the issue of keeping twins in the same class or not. I have my own thoughts which I will reserve for now. I have taught twins before, but that was in a high school setting which is a different animal.

    So, PreK and elementary teachers, based off of your experiences, what is your recommendation on whether or not to keep twins together in school, and why?
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Any twins I went to school with or have been in a school where I worked have been in seperate classrooms. If the school is large enough to have several classrooms per grade it might be a better option for split them up. Are they both somewhat independent (do they only have the SAME interests, only want to do what the other is doing? etc.) Some twins will end up not making friends because they are relying their twin too much and not opening up socially to other kids. That's only been the experiences I have heard of but it will be interesting to see what others think.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I teach upper elementary. I’ve had several pairs of twins in my classes. Most have been in the same classes, a few have not but I’ve had both still because we team teach. At an upper elementary level, it’s nice to see siblings in the same class. They support each other but have their own identities and friends. Most times, a sub or visitor wouldn’t know they were twins if it weren’t for the same last name. I have had a few pairs of identical twins that I still couldn’t tell apart at the end of the year. Again, still separate friends and personalities though!

    One advantage to having them in the same group is that they have the same homework and projects. For twins in separate classes, parents have gotten overwhelmed trying to keep track of two sets of due dates and policies. It’s nice when they can help each other on the work at home.

    I know you have a long time to think about it but congrats on the little ones even if it’s a bit late! :)
     
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  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I've taught twins in third through fifth grades, in two different schools.

    In one school, we departmentalized with a team of two teachers. It worked really well to have each twin in one of those two homerooms. It meant that both had the same set of teachers and mostly the same homework, but it also meant that they could develop their own personalities and be their own persons without regard for the twin sibling. I taught two different sets of twins this way, and I think this was the ideal set-up in that school.

    In the other school, the twins were together in class. One twin had much better social and language skills than the other, and it was apparent that this affected both of them. The stronger twin often felt that he had to stand in for his weaker brother to help him out. It was great to see him so compassionate, but I do think that it added pressure that he didn't need to be dealing with. It also meant that they weaker twin could rely on his brother and never had to reach a higher standard of social and language development.

    I've also worked in a school where we didn't departmentalize, but I never had a twin or set of twins in my own class. At that school, twins were usually separated unless parents strongly requested that they be put together. I never heard that this was a problem, and my understanding is that it worked out most of the time.

    My personal opinion is that is it likely dependent on the specific set of twins. Just like any student's individual characteristics are taken into consideration when creating class lists, the characteristics of the individual twins and the relationship between them should be considered. For some, it will be best to place them together. For others, it will be best to separate them. It just depends on who they are, as well as the dynamics of the school and their peers.
     
  6. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    You’re kids will be a part of the generation known as the Coronials, haha!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    One year we had 16 sets of twins in our building of approximately 500 students. No two were the same. Keep in mind that however you start them our doesn’t mean that’s how they have to stay their whole academic career.

    My elementary school was small, with two classes per grade level. There were two sets of twins and one set of cousins who were just like siblings. We were in grades 1 to 6 together.

    As a middle school teacher, I’ve had various experiences.
    • work well together
    • fight a lot
    • one dominates
    • one relies too much on other
    • too competitive
    • anxiety when separated
    There isn’t a right answer.
     
  8. Tired Teacher

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    I have had my share of twins over the years. The weird thing is only 1 set was a boy and girl. If you have 2 teachers you think would be good for your kids, I'd separate them based on my limited experience w/ boy/girl twins. It is important for them to have the teacher you think would be best for each of them though. I'd make sure I knew the teachers before deciding who goes where.
     
  9. TeacherNY

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    Do you know that you will have a choice on the matter? Some schools will have their own ideas and you might have to go along with it and what they think is best after doing some testing.
     
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  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I've dealt with all of this with twins as well; every set was different and had different needs. Some needed to be together and some needed to be apart. I've only had one situation where the parent was encouraged to make a change partway through the year. The twins were originally in different classes, which was what was best for them. The parent, however, insisted that both students have exactly the same experiences and made the teachers' lives miserable complaining that Student 1's teacher did an Art activity that Student 2 wanted to do, or that Student 2 was reading a different novel than Student 1 was. After many phone calls and meetings (and more than a few tears!), the parent resigned herself to the fact that if she wanted her twins to have "identical" classroom experiences, a good way to start was by having them in the same classroom.
     
  11. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Comrade

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    Twin here. Growing up, my mom put us in the same class in elementary school (the same classes and teachers that my older siblings had as well). When we got to middle school we were in separate classes, and high school most classes were separate but a few were the same (that was our choice by then).

    In elementary school we usually always did the same thing, played the same instruments, played the same sports, participated in the same activities. We were competitive in everything and CONSTANTLY being compared which did not help the competitiveness.

    When we got to middle school and were in separate classes we really found our own hobbies and interests that still stick with us to this day. Even academically we started branching out. I wonder if we would have been separated in elementary if we would have found all that sooner. My sister and I are complete opposites in every way, so to have us doing everything the same just because we were twins did not really help us.
     
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  12. rpan

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    I think once they are of school going age you’d know their personalities and whether they’d be good for each other in the same class or not. If there are any colleagues who know your twins, it may be worthwhile getting their objective professional opinion. Once they get older, they can make their own choices.
    I’ve taught a few sets of twins in the same class and whilst they shared the same friend group, they weren’t dependent on each other, chose not to sit next to each other. I’ve also taught twins who choose not to be in the same class for certain subjects and in the same class for certain subjects. There’s no right or wrong answer, as long as your kids are thriving and happy, that’s the most important thing and I suspect you’ll take your cues from that.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    If the school is large enough to handle, I highly recommend separating them. Although yours are fraternal, and that would help, the twins that I have had that were same sex usually had a dominant who feels responsible for what happens to the sibling. It causes the less dominant to rely on the dominant, and, I think, makes them less likely to fend for themselves, which is important life skill to master. Just my opinion, of course.
     
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  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    My twin and I were in the same class in kinder and apparently refused to socialize. So we were split until 6th grade.

    I've seen about half and half in my career. Some parents want them split, others insist they be together.
     
  15. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Even if the twins are well accustomed to being together, they are definitely compared by their peers. One is often labeled the smart one, or the quiet one, or the athletic one... of course, every kid, twin or not, has their own personality and is going to get characterized or thought of in one way or another. But it does seems like it’s more noticed when classmates are trying to figure out the differences between two siblings!
     
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  16. RainStorm

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    I have worked in two school districts. One had a policy that twins/multiples/siblings (including step siblings in the same grade) had to be in separate classes. The second district I worked for, our school only had one class per grade level, so there was not choice, twins had to be in the same class.

    Here are some observations I have made over the years.

    Separate Classes -- the good:
    • It is great because each twin can develop their own friendships and own interests.
    • They aren't a "twin" -- a part of a set -- they are individual people. For some twins, this is the first time this has every been the case. For twins who prefer to only socialize with each other, this is a miraculous thing.
    • The teacher doesn't mix them up.
    Separate classes -- the bad:
    • Twins are often use to operating as a "set" -- they help each other with the stronger twin in each area helping the weaker. This is both good and bad. The weaker twin is sometimes overwhelmed when separated, especially when they are used to this on-going support.
    • No matter how good both teachers are, one teacher will always be better than the other, and one twin will end up with a better experience.
    • The twins will often have different assignments, different homework, and different opportunities. As a parent, it can really be hard to keep up with all the different stuff - different projects, different due dates, different tests, etc.
    Same class -- the good:
    • They have the same homework, the same assignments, the same projects, and the same field trips. This is helpful for parents, especially.
    • Since they have the exact same teacher and the exact same class, they both get an equal learning opportunity (whether that opportunity is good or bad.)
    Same class - the bad:
    • Sometimes, they stick together and fail to make other friends or explore interests the other twin does not share.
    • One twin, even with identicals, is always smarter, and one is often more socially saavy (and most often, it is the same twin who is both!) This is a real issue for the "other" twin. One twin becomes the leader, and the other the follower -- diminishing her opportunity to lead her own life.
    The last observation I have is based on 18 years of experience as a teacher, and 16 of those years I had "a twin" or a "multiple" of some sort. Here it is. Parents, you have to realize -- one twin will always be smarter. One twin will always learn more easily. One twin will always have an easier time both academically and socially -- and unfortunately, it is usually the same twin. If you have identical twins Billy and Jack, and they are in different classes, Jack may not ever do as well as Billy, and this probably isn't because of the teacher. It is just the fact that every single child, even those with identical traits, learns differently, and is a different person. But Jack still has his own gifts and talents, and as parents and as teachers, our job is to help each twin develop his or her own unique "place in the world."

    Personally, if the twins are fraternal boy/girl twins, I don't think it is a big issue either way, but I still think it is better to be in separate classes when that is possible.

    It can be so much trickier with same-sex twins, especially if they are identical, or fraternal with strong visual and social similarities. (I've known many fraternal twins (same-sex) who most people couldn't tell apart.)

    As an aside -- I watched a TV show years ago that featured two adult identical twins. They were both fashion models. They only did jobs as twins -- never as individuals. Everyone referred to them as "the twins" or "the girls." They lived together in a one bedroom apartment and shared a bedroom (by choice.) When they went out to eat, they ordered one meal, and shared it (I'm sorry, but even for a model, that is just strange.) They wore matching clothes every day. They had matching sheets and bedspreads in their bedroom. These were grown woman, not teens or young children. They styled their hair exactly the same way each day. They were always together! Always.

    I can't help but feel that someone, somewhere, really let these two women down. They were a "unit" -- they never developed as individuals. Years later, I looked them up on the internet, and they were still modeling and living together, neither married or had kids (because obviously, dating would have required doing something separate.) I hesitate to add that the only time they ever dated, they BOTH dated the same man at the same time, and according to their web information, they had sex with him together! I guess to some men that is some kind of a fantasy, but obviously, that did not work out over the long run.

    I'm sorry -- someone really dropped the ball with those two.
     
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  17. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'm neither a twin nor the parent of a twin, so maybe my opinion isn't worthy of consideration... but I've never really thought that this was a valid reason to put twins together in class. If the parents had two kids who weren't twins and were in different grade levels, they'd have to deal with two different sets of deadlines and assignments. Why should it be easier just because their two kids are twins?
     
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  18. RainStorm

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    I do understand what you are saying, and agree with you to some point -- but I've also seen situations like this.

    Twin A-- reading log daily, 10 math problems daily, 20 spelling words weekly with a test on Friday, one project per month, essay and fill-in-the-blank test after science unit. Special visitor to classroom every other Thursday, with children needing to prepare for this by reading advanced material and respond the day after with a writing summary.

    Twin B -- no reading log, 30 math problems per day, no spelling given or tested, tests are all multiple choice with many of the questions being yes/no. No special speakers.

    I think where I see the biggest issue is that the parent has to spend 1 hour 10 minutes per day with Twin A plus time for projects and weekly spelling test study, while Twin B is done in 15 minutes. For a parent, this is a logistical nightmare.

    Yes, they can try to make Twin B study spelling words from Twin A's list even though it isn't required and won't be tested. The parent can required Twin B to read. But logistically, it is a problem when you have two children of the exact same age, one of whom has less than 15 minutes worth of homework daily, and the other had in excess of 1 hour per day. I'm not saying it can't be worked-out, but it is logistically hard for the parent.
     
  19. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Companion

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    So the problem with splitting twins is that it highlights the horrendous inconsistencies within the school. It is depressing to view the problem as one of the logistics of having twins rather than one of having a school with some pretty serious issues. That kind of disparity is going to have equally serious impacts on students as they progress grade to grade. Guess that's the reasoning behind standards.

    But, parent of boy/girl twins here, and although I can attest to this type of problem, it was never this bad. I'm my case, my children were so different that there wasn't much temptation to make many direct comparisons. Just two very different kids. They were never in the same classroom until high school, and only once that I can remember even then. It wasn't planned on our part. It may have been school policy. But I think it was a good way to go. Why promote the inevitable sibling rivalry, twins or not, more than necessary?
     
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  20. RainStorm

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    This made me laugh. When I was in high school, I was friends with a set of identical twins. They were in different classrooms. However, one the twins was terrible at math, and the other was pretty good at it. They started attending each other classes -- which meant the twin who was good in math, went to her twin's algebra 2 class, which of course, was very easy for her since she already knew the material. Her twin went to her English class in her place. It was almost the end of the our sophomore year before anyone figured out what they were doing. The school ended up putting them both in the same classes just so they could make sure they were actually both attending.
     
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  21. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    This was my thought too. Having a significant difference in the amount of homework for two classes within a grade level is a school leadership issue, not a reason to put two kids together in the same class. Of course, it’s not really the parents’ place to resolve that issue, and they do end up being the ones who are stuck dealing with it. However, this should have nothing to do with how twins are placed. This just shows that an administrator needs to step in and set some school wide homework guidelines to ensure consistency for all students, not just twins. I know teachers complain all the time about having guidelines set and losing control over everything they do, but there is a reason for that, and this highlights one of those reasons.
     
  22. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    I appreciate all the responses. Thank you. It will be interesting to see how their personalities and relationship develop between now and then.
     
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  23. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    And that is the best part of parenthood! Enjoy that and worry less about these things that will work themselves out - it's all part of the ride.
     
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