Thursday, March 3, 2016

Crossing the Bridge from Grade one to Grade Six

So yesterday was my first day in grade six! It was just an observation day and due to the mass amounts of snow that had fallen overnight I didn't get a chance to meet very many of my future students. However, it was a great day to get to know my amazing new associate teacher and the school atmosphere.

My new placement school is grades 6, 7 and 8... very different from the K-5 school I was at before and to be completely honest the jump from grade one to grade six is incredibly intimidating for me. I absolutely loved grade one and much of the work and volunteering I have done outside of school has been with younger children. So jumping all the way to grade six is definitely pushing my comfort zone, but I am extremely excited for the learning that will come along with this jump.

I know I will have to work hard to re-teach myself parts of the curriculum, but my initial concerns are beyond content knowledge. I'm starting to worry about classroom management as well. As I observed the class yesterday I could tell the students had a great deal of respect for their teacher and this is what made them listen. How am I going to get them to respect me in the same way?

In the primary grades students really want to please their teacher. Mine even did homework for fun just to come in and show it off! But from what I understand, this is not usually the case in middle school. I'm not going to be able to compliment a student on how they are sitting and as a result the whole class will follow their lead... and the "I'm waiting" trick might not work quite as well. I have begun my research on effective classroom management for junior/intermediate students and hope to learn more with a full class of students on my final observation day next week. I'll definitely report back my findings for those who are curious.

As I began looking for teacher support on transitioning from one grade to another, I stumbled upon The Cornerstone where one reader wrote in very similar concerns to my own. I'm glad that I'm not the only one panicking about a jump in grade! The Cornerstone's article titled Advice for Teachers Who Are Changing Grade Levels had some really great thoughts, and calmed my nerves about this grade level jump. "Good teaching is good teaching" is a quote that really stuck with me. I know that if I put the time and effort into this teaching block I will be a great teacher, no matter what grade.

After spending the day observing I am incredibly excited to be back in the classroom. This block I will be teaching Language, Math, Science, Physical Education, Health and Dance. I will also be helping teach and choreograph the competitive dance team. I'm already knee-deep in resources to get my ideas flowing. I can't wait to share my experiences with you (I'll try to be better about blogging this block, but you can always check out my twitter feed @Miss_Hatfield to see what I'm up to!) Despite my initial concerns I think that having taught both grade one and grade six by the time I graduate will only make me a stronger teacher in the long run. I will embrace my commitment to lifelong learning and educate myself on the transition from primary to junior grades. I look forward to  continuing to grow and learn as a future educator.

If you have any advice to share, please do! I'm looking to learn and prepare as much as I can before beginning in the classroom full time.

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