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Is first grade really that bad?
Old 07-23-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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I am an aspiring teacher. I would love to teach first grade because I love working around littler kids. But, I have heard a lot of negative stuff about first grade. For example: "the kids do not follow the rules and they do not listen, they are so dependent they can't even wipe their own nose." Is all of that stuff true? Whenever I tell someone that I want to teach first grade they are so surprised. Is first grade really that bad?


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My Experience
Old 07-23-2007, 08:34 PM
 
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When I first became a teacher I wanted to teach second grade or higher, but after being assigned a first grade class during my master's program internship, I can say that was the best thing for me! I have taught first grade now for 13 years and I have to tell you that it is such a magical grade. The changes and growth that occur from August to May are tremendous; from learning to read and write to being able to solve problems and articulate their thinking! As for the comment about "the kids do not follow the rules and they do not listen..." that can be a true statement about any grade really. With good modeling, guidance, and a good structure from the beginning, first graders can be independent learners that will always hold a special place in your heart!
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I teach second right now, but
Old 07-23-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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I loved first and would go back anytime. The kids do know how to follow rules, if you know how to introduce the procedures. Granted it does take a little longer, but it is only their 2nd or 3rd year of school.
Personally, I thought my year in 6th grade was the toughest.
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First Grade
Old 07-23-2007, 08:52 PM
 
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It takes a special kind of person to teach first grade and you sound like you've got it what it takes!! Are they super-dependent?? You betcha! But just wait until May, you'll never believe they are the same little babies that walked through your door in August!

I student taught in second grade and got my first job in first grade. I left because I moved and the only opening for me was Kindergarten. I'm back in second grade now but often think about going back to first grade. You will wipe noses, button jackets, tie shoes, etc. but one day you'll realize you aren't doing it as much anymore and it's such a neat feeling! I agree with all that Mrs. O and BevAnn said, especially about the following the rules and listening. This can and will happen at any grade. Some classes will be tougher than others. I had a great second grade class two years ago, last year was a whole different story.

If I were you, I'd try to get some experience in first grade during your pre-service time. Try to volunteer any extra time you have in a first grade classroom (and others too to really get a feel for what you want). A friend of mine was convinced that she was supposed to be a Kindergarten teacher. She taught first grade one year, third two years, fourth two years, and now she's going to fifth and sixth math! You really never know what you want until you've experienced it.

Whatever you do, don't listen to what others tell you because as I said, first grade is not for everyone, but then again neither is sixth grade! You need to form your own opinions and the only way to do that is to get as much experience as you can!!

I hope I was helpful to you!!
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:08 PM
 
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You're probably on the wrong board as far as having people tell you it is bad~ we all teach first! We all do it every day and are still here (most of the time ) .


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first grade
Old 07-23-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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In my opinion first grade is the best grade. It is the grade where you'll make the most difference, and you'll really be able to measure what you have accomplished together. These kids learn more in one year than they will in any other single year. What an honor to be there when they realize they have learned to read, write, add and subtract. Everyone else just builds on that! JMHO

It does take a special person, but then so does Gr 3, 7, 11,..... every other grade takes the person who enjoys that age group and is committed to that curriculum. However, (except for K, which is half time where I live,) you are their first full time experience with school. You get to build them a wonderful, successful, esteem and skill building year that convinces them school is a wonderful place to be. No one will be quite like their first grade teacher. I LOVE First Grade.


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Loved first grade!!
Old 07-24-2007, 03:25 AM
 
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I taught first grade for 7 years and felt that I needed a change. I love first graders so I took a first grade reading interventionist job so I could have a break from bulletin boards etc. I did my favorite thing... teach first graders to read.

After 4 years they changed the make up of that job so I went back to the classroom. I had to go to 2nd. It was a great experience and I feel that I am a better teacher for doing it but I didn't feel the same way when the day was done. Something was missing for me.

At the end of the year a first grade teacher approached me and asked if I wanted to switch. I didn't think, "yes' shot out of my mouth. Last year I felt like I was home. That feeling at the end of the day came back and I will probably die in the first grade wing!!

The first few months are hard no doubt about it but it is amazing. The growth is incredible. As other posters said it is all about modeling the behavior.

Go for it... go to first and we are all here to help if you need it!! Take your vitamins!!!
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Love 1st grade!
Old 07-24-2007, 03:46 AM
 
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I absolutely love 1st grade! I have not ever wiped one runny nose! I just ask the child to get a tissue and they take care of it. I do have lots of nose-picking (and hands in other places, too) and I just ask the child to go wash their hands and get some germ protection. I have tied a few shoes, but don't really mind. Our Kindergarten teachers encourage them to learn to tie their shoes before leaving K. My classes generally always follow the rules. You always have those exceptions, but I would just keep them close to me when it mattered.

First graders still have a love of school and an excitement for being there. Most of what we do is still a "first" for them and is so thrilling to watch them explore, discover, and learn. Kindergarten taught them all of the school stuff (unpacking, standing/walking in a line, where the bathroom is, etc.), so we can now get to the nooks and crannies (reading, addition, subtraction, etc.).

To answer your question, first grade is not a terrible place! It is a very fun and rewarding job! I agree with the other posters and that you should do some of your work in a first grade classroom and see it for yourself! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
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Love First Grade
Old 07-24-2007, 03:53 AM
 
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I went from teaching 4th grade to teaching 1st. It was culture shock the first year, but now I love it. In no other grade do you see so much growth in one year, and the kids are wonderful.
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Old 07-24-2007, 04:36 AM
 
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If you scroll down, you posted a question about 'how well do you like first grade'. You received a lot of positives and info so I'm not sure why you continue to repost the same questions.


 
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Old 07-24-2007, 07:17 AM
 
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I really also agree with Ms. Propel's suggestion of volunteering. I have noticed you have posted the same question (wording varys) on many of the boards here at ProTeacher such as 4th grade, the sub board, etc. I like that you are thinking ahead, and getting in classrooms is the best way to determine what you like. May I ask what year you are in school? Many high schools have programs that get kids in elementary schools to volunteer. If yours does not you could do Sunday School (depending on your religion of course!), or some after school programs. They are always looking for enthusiastic workers, and you will get paid .
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Who told you that?
Old 07-24-2007, 07:23 AM
 
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It kind of sounds like something an upper elementary teacher would say!

I second everything everyone else has written about the joys and rewards of teaching first grade so I won't repeat....

My thoughts go back to my question, "Who told you that?"

CONSIDER THE SOURCE....I would NEVER want to teach the older kids (although if I gave it a try, who knows?) and the upper grade teachers always tell me they would NEVER want to teach the little kids. It takes a lot of different kinds of people to make the world go round...the same goes for making a school a fabulous place. We each have our gifts and passions.

Anyone who would say those kinds of things about teaching first grade obviously has no passion for five, six and seven year old--and THAT'S OK! The kids and the parents and the other first grade teachers DON'T WANT THEM THERE! I don't mean that in a wicked way--they just belong elsewhere. I can't imagine coming to school and disliking the age of kids I'm working with!!!!!

Someone else had GREAT advice....get yourself into a first grade classroom during your pre student teaching and student teaching.

SEE IF YOU ARE CUT OUT FOR IT!!! As you can tell, EVERYONE HERE LOVES IT!
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Lol
Old 07-24-2007, 08:47 AM
 
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No question is a silly question - but here, on the first grade board I would find it hilarious if somebody actually answered "YES, it totally STINKS!" My husband teaches middle school and I always tell him I couldn't deal with the hormones. His retort is always "I couldn't tie shoes and blow noses all day" which always cracks me up, because I couldn't do that either, and I don't.

Love it!!!!!!!!!!
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6th to 1st grade
Old 07-24-2007, 10:38 AM
 
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After I graduated from college I only wanted to teacher 3rd grade or higher. I had the wrong impression about the younger grades.

I taught 6th grade my first year. I thought that was the best grade ever until I went to 1st grade. Do not get me wrong! I was scared, scared, scared! Looking at 6th grade I do not know how I made it through the hormones and all!

I love 1st graders sweet spirits. They love to learn and love their teacher! They so badly want to succeed and read! They are highly motivated (at least at my school) and when the "light" comes on for them it is the best feeling. To see them read their first sentence, or write a story is the best feeling for them and myself as a teacher and is a magical moment!

1st graders need to be given more credit sometimes on the things they can do! They are very smart and are very independent! I will be very sad the day I have to move grades because my heart is in 1st grade!

Jennifer
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:20 PM
 
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The idea that 1st graders don't follow rules is hilarious to me. True, you have some students who push the limit (that's in every grade level), but I didn't experience anything like what that teacher told you. She must've stunk at teaching procedures, rules, and expectations, for it is a crucial key part of one's success.

I hold my little ones to high expectations for their behavior and always reinforce that when they do misbehave, they CHOSE to, which is unacceptable to me. It really works! I hardly ever have behavior problems, except from my one or two who are seriously lacking in self control.

If you do decide to teach young students, the main thing to remember is to be extremly clear in what you expect, for if you are there is no room for confusion, which cuts down massivly on behavorial problems. Hope this helps!
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why I teach first grade
Old 07-25-2007, 06:42 AM
 
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The author to this is unknown, but I think it sums up first grade pretty well.


Why I Teach First Grade


Where else would a handsome and very young man put his arm around me and ask, "Do you know that I love you?"

Where else could I tie so many hair ribbons and belts and daily get to see a style show of pretty dresses and shirts?

Where else could I wear the same dress day after day and be told each time, it's pretty?

Where else could I walk up and down aisles and have warm little hands touch me?

Where else could I have the privilege of wriggling loose teeth and receive a promise that I may pull them when they are loose enough?

Where else could I eat a soiled piece of candy from a grimy little hand and not become ill?

Where else could the future look as bright as it does amid an energetic group to whom nothing is impossible?

Where else could I guide the first letter of a chubby little hand that may someday write a book or an important document?

Where else could I forget taxes, even the "State of the Nation" because Ray isn't grasping reading as he should and other methods must be tried?

Where else would my mind have to stay so young as with a group whose attention is short that I must keep a bag of tricks up my sleeve?

Where else could I feel so close to my Maker as I do each year because of something I have done to help little children learn to read?

Yes, I do teach the first grade and I LOVE IT!
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thank you
Old 07-26-2007, 04:41 AM
 
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I love this poem. I have saved it to a Word document and put a cute border on it with some clip art and I plan to give one to each one of my first grade team members at the beginning of this year. Thanks again!
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thank you so much for the poem!!!!!!
Old 07-26-2007, 04:50 AM
 
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It is wonderful!!

I too have copied it and plan on printing it and putting it in a frame for my 3 first grade team mates.

Thank you so much for sharing it,
Shark
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I am not a first grade teacher
Old 07-26-2007, 05:03 AM
 
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I am just cruising the board reading whatever grabs my attention.
I imagine a lot of the negative stuff you hear...is true. However, for the really great first grade teachers I know (and I know several) the joy of the job transends runny noses, untied shoes etc.
When my own children were in first grade, I remember them worshiping their teacher. If I said or did something differently from Ms. Rita my kids would quickly correct me. Clearly mom could be wrong but Ms. Rita is always right. She had a huge, positive influence on my children. My oldest, who is in high school, still says that Ms. Rita is her favorite teacher.
As far as listening to people who don't know or understand what teaching first grade is really about, I wouldn't. I teach middle school--you can imagine the comments I get.
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Whoever said that
Old 07-26-2007, 06:35 AM
 
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has never taught first grade. Most first graders follow the rules to the letter. You have to be very careful to say exactly what you mean, because they do exactly what you say.
One piece of advice that I got when I first started teaching first grade was this: Don't tie their shoes or button their coats. Have them find another first grader who can do it, and let him teach them. They love to help each other learn.
I think first grade is the most important year. If I were to move to another grade level, I would feel like my job wasn't as important.
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can't stay away
Old 07-26-2007, 07:13 AM
 
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I am a retired teacher of 30 years... I taught first grade for 15 years and kindergarten for the same # of years. I am returning to first grade after being out for one year. I did long term jobs last year and missed it so much. First grade is the most rewarding grade. The children grow sooooo much right in front of your eyes.
I have loved this website. I have learned so much even as a veteran teacher. My philosophy is you are always learning. Thanks for all the great ideas and discussions.

Ellen in SC
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