Well, I’ve been a fifth grade teacher for a week now and I still love it. I do think part of why I’m loving it is unique to this particular situation, though.
I love that I teach math to 3 groups of kids. I feel like I have so much less to plan and prep. I’m still at school for a few hours after school and still behind on my to do list, but I have lessons planned, copied, and ready to go for the next few weeks. How is there still so much to do every day??
I love that I’ve taught so many of these kids before. Our school is very focused on collaboration. We have grade level teams that meet daily. Even in 2nd grade when I had my homeroom most of the day, I had a variety of kids during ELD and we’d trade classes for special events. So, I remember most of the kids that went to 2nd grade at our school. I love seeing how far they’ve come. I love seeing kids that struggled to read volunteering to read in class. I love seeing kids that were afraid to ask for help, being perfectly comfortable. I love seeing kids that didn’t speak English having full complex conversations. I remember looping years ago and feeling like I gained a month of school by not having to go over every little detail. I feel like i looped again. Today I found a few of my library books out of place, looked at a former student and knew she knew my library system, and she happily took care of it.
There is definitely a learning curve. There are a few things I’m trying to figure out. I’m used to demonstrating EVERYTHING. They don’t need me to demonstrate how to find the top of the paper, how to hold a pencil, how to put a space between their names, etc. But, yesterday I was starting our math journals and didn’t demonstrate how to use a ruler to draw a straight line. They needed that. (Some were holding the ruler up so just the little edge was on the paper!) Then again they successfully completed a burrito fold today without help. I think I’ll err on the side of over demonstrating for now.
I also learned today that these little guys are brave. We had a wasp/bee problem today. I had a kid come to tell me that someone was stung. I look up and this little guy was just standing in line with his hands at his side and I could see a stinger sticking out of his neck. Another kid informed me a while after recess that a kid had been stung. When I asked him about he just shrugged and said I’m OK. I sent him to be checked anyway. This would have been HUGE drama in 2nd. (There were several kids already in the office, so I’m sure there was some drama out there that the yard duty got to deal with).
One of the best things about 5th graders is their independence. I love that so many students can sit there and work on their math without bouncing up and down. I especially love how self aware they are. They know when they need help. I prefer during math to have a tutoring table where kids can come to me and get help when they want it. In second, I had to tell certain students they needed help. I had second graders that didn’t need help but wanted attention. My fifth graders come over, get help, work together in a tutoring team with me, and then decide when they want to try it on their own.
If you’ve stuck around this long, here is a great resource for you. My VP is from another district and shared this district website with a ton of math resources. Check it out:
I hope the beginning of the year is treating everyone well!