There really isn't a best grade to start teaching with. You just jump in and do your best. Maybe 2nd but every grade has it own personality. It is the people you work with that makes the different.
I started teaching 5th and 6th at mid term 31 years ago. My heart was for kindergarten or first grade. I got my kindergarten the following year. I would never trade that experience. Don't let the testing thing bother you. I teach as a first grade Reading Specialist and I am testing small groups with STATE testing so really there is no way to get away from the testing bug. So don't judge just be open. The other key it is better to have a grade you think is challenging at a good school rather than the perfect grade at a school you will be unhappy with. Then it comes down how bad do you need the job. So there are alot of varibles to the equations. Good luck
or not - when you are interviewing - it really seems to come down to whether you want to work at the school or not - things can happen at the beginning of the year and you think you are teaching a certain grade then the count changes and you are moved to another grade.
And eventually with all of the grades and NCLB there is testing at every level........every grade has expectations....you should just jump in and teach the grade you are given and then go from there........
Great statement by the above posters. You have to weigh all your options, and hope for the best.
I accepted my current position because I thought it would be the PERFECT grade level and subject area. I have kids that some teacher think are somewhat "easier" because they're labeled "gifted", but don't let that fool you. The work load is UNBELIEVABLE, sometimes the parents are nightmares, and many of them can't handle the assignments set forth by my district's curriculum. I've had to water-down so many times... That being said, I'll be leaving this position at the end of the year because of family concerns, but even if I was staying in this district, I would NOT do another year with this age level and so-called ablility level. (Too many mistakes in the identification process, and MANY of my kiddos are in no way gifted...)
So much for getting what you wish for. Sometimes it just works out that way. It's the other teachers and a handful of truly-gifted kids that have made it bearable for ME this year.
I have taught first and second for several years now. I loved first, but I believe it is the HARDEST to teach--especially your first year. I think it requires a lot of knowledge and patience that people dont even realize. They have no independent skills and still need a mommy. It is a GREAT grade though. ou need to be the RIGHT person for first grade. I guess that is true at any grade though. Just a thought. I think second is pretty easy. They are old enough to do a little, young enough to still have fun and be cute, the academics are still fairly simple, and they have a great sense of humor.
I started out teaching first grade. When I switched schools, I taught at-risk and Title 1, so I had all levels. I went back to first grade as soon as I could get a chance, and I've been there ever since. My twin sister started out in first grade, and said she couldn't stand it. She went to eighth grade and loved it. She stayed there for 25 years. First grade is a lot of work. You can't just give them something to do and sit down to grade papers. You are "on" all the time. But, you also see the progress happen on a daily basis. I love the fact that when the kids come into first grade they have very few skills, but when they leave first grade they can read, write, add, subtract, tell time, and count money. It's very exciting. I did student teaching in third grade, and I loved it too. You can enjoy any great level, or you can hate any grade level. It's all up to you.
Be happy with what I get and make the most of out of it. I really appreciate everyone's advice. I think before you begin your first year teaching you walk around in this big bubble and you think that there's a dream grade, a magical grade that all teachers are happy with. Bubble busted! I will definitely enjoy any grade and work my hardest despite the many challenges that may lie ahead.
I agree with all the wisdom also. I think the pressure is hardest in the very early grades as a newbie because the struggling kids haven't been referred yet and you are often the bearer of bad news. Parents have a hard time hearing that from an experienced teacher but the poor young, new teacher is often blamed because they don't have the years and sometimes the savvy to handle difficult parents. I often hear those stories when they come to me and really feel for the new teacher. Also, a nightmare group of teachers can make any grade level horrible. That happens too!
You're lucky. I can gladly say that after teaching health and sport to ALL grades then Music to ALL grades ie. same positions as yourself... for a few years, I found that a ~BREEZE~ compared to working on Grade 1! Try it FULL-TIME and try to balance everything without help. Try to make resources, manage the kids, plan and organise every waking minute, the meetings, the standards and then if you have enough time, deal with all the parents- something you would not need to be as concerned about.
I work without an aide with 29 in the class each year I am on Grade 1. I have also taught K and know it is just as difficult. Even so, I still love it and know I do it properly. I am just so thankful that I am not a younger teacher these days with all that has changed.
You are lucky to have each class for not a day or week or year at a time- is it 40mins or 1hr?.... ahhhhh...... so no, don't trade it!
I am sorry that you would choose to denigrate the work of the very people who are trying to support your learners in coming to high school prepared and ready to learn high school content. Being an adult, I can confidently say that I understand high school content just as well as I know my colors or math facts. Neither is a "joke," though the content of both is easy for me. I would hope that your feelings about the difficulty level of content do not get expressed to your students. You may teach English language learners would would be very hurt to hear you call their language learning challenge a "joke."
High school concepts are hard for the high school student, just as simple math concepts are challenging for an 8 year old brain. The challenge for teachers should not be in understanding the content (so comparing content is no way to compare the challenge we as teacher experience). The challenge is actually understanding how to communicate that content to a minds very different than our own. I find young children a pleasant challenge because I have to spend a lot of time thinking about how to help a young child understand a concept, like fractions, that is seemingly simple to an adult. If I were to teach this concept to my third graders in the same way in which I would attempt to do so with a high school student, I would fail miserably. It is very important that my learners receive developmentally appropriate instruction, and I spend a lot of time reading about how to make lessons on truly difficult concepts (like how to we represent quantities less than a whole or understand a base-10 number system) developmentally appropriate and accessible to young minds. I find this much more challenging than teaching high school content to minds that are much more able to understand concepts in the same way that I do. I also find that textbooks helped support me as a high school teacher. However, I find the information including in basal textbooks completely unsuitable for actually helping "teach" my young student math, reading, or writing. If I had not invested an enormous amount of research in preparing myself to teach elementary, I would not have been successful at this level, and I would have returned to high school where science/math textbooks were useful and where activities that I designed to support concept development did not have to reach to such an entirely different developmental level.
I hope you reconsider your views on this because I'm certain you won't ever be a truly great teacher without thinking more deeply about the work that you do.
Also, I'm not sorry that you have to deal with drugs, pregnancies, etc. That's your job. I'm sorry to the teenagers who have to confront such difficult issues, just as I'm sorry to my 3rd graders who confront the same issues (which surprise, surprise, 3rd grade teachers do deal with - regularly). Though my 3rd graders don't do the drugs or get pregnant, they are affected by siblings or parents who do and can come to school very unprepared to learn as a result. They come to school hungry and have no ability to help themselves to not be hungry if their parents can't. The latest is that one of my third graders is dealing with the death of his father who I knew quite well given the intensity of relationship we elementary teachers attempt to foster with parents. And you have the audacity to write, "no crying aloud ladies" and complain about us talking of "parent drama."
There are challenges inherent in teaching every level of learners. I know some high school teachers who moved down to elementary, and swear that they will NEVER move back up. I also know many elementary teachers who are now teaching middle or high school, and they swear that they will NEVER move back down. I really don't see how competing about job difficulty is at all helpful.
(That said, I'm pretty sure I'm feeding a troll!)
To the OP, if you think that you want to teach primary and you have a choice of jobs, I think that second grade is a nice place to start. Second graders are very funny, gregarious and energetic. Having taught grade 1, grade 1 and 1/2 splits, I don't think that they're all that much more independent than they are in the second half of first grade, but they're capable of sustaining their attention for longer.
It can be difficult when you teach grade one and you have to be the first professional to tell mom and dad that their little one is struggling. While most parents are supportive, some will react very defensively and blame their child's problems on the teacher's inexperience.
If you're interested in upper grades, then I'd say go for grade 4 or 5. Grade 4 is where the girl-girl problems and bullying sometimes start, so you have to keep a sharp eye out for that. But fourth and fifth graders are really funny and strong-minded. They have an extremely keen sense of justice and 10-year-olds can get really involved in a cause that is important to them. I love sixth graders, but some people don't like having to deal with the hormones, especially when little girls start sobbing and fighting over little boys - most of whom would probably much rather play soccer at recess than deal with said little girls' crushes.
Of course, what it comes down to in the end is this: get a job! Unless you're in a district with a teacher shortage, just find a school that you feel good in and accept any grade. You'll probably find that you love whatever age level you're working with!
I think every grade level has its challenges. I would not want to teach high school, and I know a lot of high school teachers who work very hard and care deeply for their students. Some of our high school teachers came and subbed in our elementary school when the high school dismissed for one of the sports teams to go to state. We weren't allowed to dismiss, because our kids can't just be let out with no supervision. Any of our teachers were allowed to go to the tournament if a high school teacher would sub for them. Afterwards, the H.S. teachers all said, "OMG! I couldn't do this every day." Like I said, I couldn't do high school every day. I think the key is to find out where your talents lie and do the best job you can without sniping at other teachers. We all work hard, and do the best we can. We all have special challenges that we take home with us at the end of the day.
I think every grade level has its challenges. I teach middle school and I love it. Yes, the kids can be sassy and hormonal, and there are times you just want to slap someone silly but they are funny, fairly independent and can take and give a joke. I personally could not dream of teaching a primary grade, just as there are those who could not imagine teaching older students. Ask yourself, "do I want to work at this school?". I think that's more important than the grade. Things change and you have the option to make changes in your career. For now, I would say go with the grade that you feel drawn to. You will know if it is right for you. BTW, to the anonymous poster who said that high school teachers have it a lot harder than elementary teachers - I am not belittling the amount of work that you do, but where I am, HS teachers get a 75 min. prep every day. I am lucky to get 30 min. Many of us would find our jobs just a bit easier if we had those extra minutes. HS teachers here also command a higher salary.
I can't believe they can get away with that. Our district recognizes the fact that all teachers work hard to teach their grade levels. Our high school teachers get two 40 minute plan times every day. Some teach the same lesson several times a day. Elementary teachers teach every subject every day and only get one plan time. I'm not saying they don't work as hard as we do, but I would be one angry teacher if the high school teachers were paid more. I can't believe your union allows that.
I should add that I think HS teachers make more (that's what I understand from a former HS teacher who recently switched to elementary). Sorry, I probably shouldn't have stated that as a fact. Elementary and Secondary have two different unions, BTW.
all teachers are on the same pay scale-
elementary, ms, hs, counselors, sped - we are all represented by the same union too!
Every grade level represents a different challenge. Luckily we are all different people with different strengths and passions- for the op
Go with your heart! You'll do best wherever your heart is! content is hard to teach to people but harder if that is not where your passion is!
You can do it!