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Tuesday Teacher Tips: Gearing Up For a New Grade Level

Welcome to the Tuesday Teacher Tips series! Each week we’ll highlight teaching and learning resources, ideas to use in the classroom, as well as things to ponder as you go about your teaching day.

One thing I love about teaching at the elementary level is that you’re not locked into one grade level. With my license I can teach first through sixth grade.  Over the years I’ve taken advantage of that flexibility and have been a classroom teacher at the 1st, 3rd and 5th grades.

There are definite pros and cons to changing teaching positions. I have colleagues who have taught the same grade level for many, many years. Those teachers I admire since I see them as the experts at a grade level. They know their grade intimately—the developmental level, curriculum, and standards. For me, these are the go-to people for expert grade-level advice.

I believe I bring a different expertise to my grade level teams. I have the experience of the various grade levels behind me; I know where the kids have been in the curriculum and where they are going. When I teach a new concept and the kids look at me like they have never seen anything like it, I can remind them, “Remember in third grade when we did something similar?” And suddenly the light bulbs go off and they nod, “Oh yeah, I remember.”

Next fall I move from 3rd to 5th grade. I’m excited for the change. Even though changing grade levels is difficult and its time consuming learning a new curriculum, for me, it keeps my teaching fresh and gives me a new perspective on the elementary experience.

Are you someone who prefers to stay primarily at one grade level or someone who seeks out new grade-level assignments? Email and let us know. We’d love to hear about your teaching experiences.

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