Sunday, November 29, 2009

What happened to my good intentions?

They went out the window, to allow for planning, instructing, and enjoying my three-grade classroom experience! Yes, this year has been very busy. Last year I felt like I was getting into a groove with my two grades...grades one and two...despite all of the behaviour problems that were going on. The kids were learning, some were excelling, and I was hitting all of the necessary learning outcomes. Woohoo!

Then came this year. Welcome to the classroom, Kindergarteners! The groove is still forming. Sure, I am very blessed to have only grades one and two in the morning, for our serious academic time. This is a very small class (isolated community, small private school)...and the potential for learning is great. Most days, the actual learning is great too! I love my students dearly, and the day just gets more exciting when the kindergarteners arrive at lunch time.

What does Miss G. do? I boot the older kids to the lunch room, have approximately 20 minutes to eat, use the washroom (on a good day!), clean up the class room, photocopy, set up for kindergarten, and BOOM! There they are! I have 25 minutes with just kindergarten. On a good day we can accomplish calendar time, worship, and some sort of math lesson. On a bad day we can barely check the weather before the grade one and two students return.

I whole-heartedly advocate for a multi-grade classroom. The benefits for socialization are huge. The opportunities for learning are incredible. It's awesome! Most weeks I am sufficiently planned to have all three grades working and learning the correct material for their class, and I have (if I can toot my own horn for a moment) become pretty darn good at creating group activities which are differentiated enough for all of the students.

But every once in a while I would love to teach one grade. Just one. It really doesn't matter WHICH one. One set of Ministry of Education requirements. One set of learning outcomes. One set of lesson plans. One set of everything!

Why am I feeling this way today? Could it be the fact that I have 6 distinct reading groups (out of 10 students)? Could it be that I am in desperate need of a holiday?

Could it be that it is report card time and I have three distinct report cards to create, with a reporting requirement which nearly doubles my workload?

...I think that I have found my answer.