Once you have invested a full school year of hard work with a class of students, it’s hard to let them go at year’s end. Yet that’s what happens, year after year.
However, some teachers may be presented with the opportunity to stay with their same students next year. Classroom looping – or multi-year teaching – is when a teacher moves with his or her students to the next grade level. If given the opportunity, would you loop with your current class next year?
End the Beginning-of-the-Year Drag
The first week of school is usually filled almost entirely with learning classroom rules, procedures and teacher expectations. This is usually followed by several icebreakers to allow the class to get to know each other.
Looping with a class gives you an advantage during this first week. Provided you aren’t drastically changing any expectations or classroom procedures, your students will simply need a light refresher course when they step through your classroom door. In addition, students will already know each other, which allows you to cut down on icebreaker time. Can you imagine how much time you’d gain for actual teaching?
Meet Students Needs From Day One
The greatest advantage of multi-year teaching is already knowing the academic strengths and weaknesses of your students. You can start prepping small group instruction even before the school year starts, which means you can implement it that much sooner. You’ll know how to group students for intervention. You’ll have a fair understanding of which students need a review of last year’s standards before any diagnostic assessments. You have an opportunity to hit the ground running.
But Start Your Preparation Early
Like all things in education, if you’re going to do this you’ll need to commit to doing the extra work involved. After all, you’ll be teaching a new grade that you may not have experience with. Researching, studying and becoming familiar with new learning standards will be very important. I recommend dedicating 10 hours a week during your summer vacation to ensuring you’re prepared properly for the coming year.
Once you have a solid grasp on your students’ new learning objectives, you can then prepare a plan and goals for each student. With this in hand, you can confidently further the relationships you’ve already built with your students’ parents, collaborating as a team to help their students meet higher expectations. The prep work can seem intimidating but the payoff is worth it!
Prepare yourself for a new teaching role by enrolling in an American College of Education master’s degree or certificate program.