This past school year I made the move from teaching preschool to teaching 5th grade. I won’t lie or sugar coat it. It was hard. I knew that no matter what, I would give it another year. My first year in preschool was a hard year too. With time to reflect I have come up with a list of what didn’t work for me.
- Thinking 5th graders are “big kids.” Don’t get me wrong. They are big kids, but they still need reminders and explicit instruction on almost everything. I am talking raising their hands, when is a good time to sharpen pencils.
- Not having a solid plan for flexible seating from day one. I did not have a plan to make sure seats were not being “hogged” or an explanation of how often you should be changing seats or when to change seats.
- No clear bathroom management plan. I need to remember that even 5th graders will use the bathroom as an avoidance strategy.
- Not communicating enough with parents. Being in a new grade with new content, I did not do a good job of communicating with ALL parents about what was happening in our classroom.
- Not asking for help when I needed it. Not to say terrible things were happening in the classroom, nor were there any major breakdowns, but there were a few instances in which I should have gotten help sooner than I did, and maybe the year would have been smoother.
I have a plan for what to change in order to make sure I don’t make these same mistakes next year. I have made it a point to make this summer about reflection and decompression so that I will be fully ready to take on a class of 5th graders next year!