I teach at a Catholic school. There are two classes per grade, and in 5th, we switch for two subjects. We each teach our own class Social Studies, Religion, and Spelling. I teach both classes English and Reading; the other teacher covers Math and Science.
I do like it, overall (I like the subjects I teach and don't care for teaching Math or Science very much). It gives the kids a chance to stretch their legs and have a change of pace. In my school, it is sort of a transitional year - for the upper grades, they switch for every class, so this is a nice middle year for them to get used to having a different teacher and being exposed to different expectations, styles, etc). I always get to know "my" class better, though, and am more relaxed when they are in the classroom with me.
Why are you switching to self-contained? Let us know how it goes.
And I personally love it. THere are drawbacks though.
i get to specialize my planning. It seems more meaningful to do a huge experiment, project or something that takes lots of prep when I can do it three times! It's easier for me to plan and prep for even though my three math classes are all different levels and two separate curriculums. I get to choose math conferences or reading conferences or inservices or classes to take. I dont have to worry about the subjects I dont teach. Conferencing is tough if you don't watch becasue you only know about the subject(s) you teach.
flexibility is gone. If I ran out of science time one day I could make it up and double up the next. With this, it's not possible. I have to teach math to three groups... I think when it comes to grades it's tough because you have to exchange to complete the grade cards. Great if you work together well as a team, tough if you have late colleagues or procrastinators. grading gets boring when you grade 85 of the same notebooks (this is my science teachers complaint).
This is the second time in four years that my grade level has "switched classes." When we did it for the first time I was a first year teacher and I loved it because it took a lot of the planning pressure away and let me focus on teaching just Language Arts and Social Studies. For the next few years, our principal decided that third grade was too early to "switch" and we went back to our traditional ways. Now, we're trying to departmentalize again and I'm teaching math and science.
I agree with Margaret's comments. I feel like I'm really able to create focused, differentiated lessons when I only have to plan for two subject areas. Also, teaching the lesson twice allows me to determine what flat out "didn't work" and what might just be a problem for a few learners.
By the same token, all the teachers involved have to be really open to communication, all have to be willing to be flexible, and it helps if your teaching styles are complementary. I do miss the ability to stop and capture all those teachable moments because sometimes that's just not possible!
we do it.. second grade... but the teachers switch, not the kids. I teach science, one teacher teaches reading skills, one teaches social studies, and one teaches Grammar and writing. We don't rotate on Fridays. We all teach our own classes for reading, spelling, and math. I like it because I get to teach what I like. I hate social studies so I don't feel like I do a great job with it. I love science, so I think I do a better job with it. It is great to grade 60 of the same paper, and not different papers from each subject. I also like just planning for a few subjects.
We switch only for reading. I have gotten used to it, but honestly detest it. I don't feel like I know where my kids are in reading. I was a self-contained 2nd grade teacher for 6 years - taught everything and had a good handle on how my kids were doing. I feel more disconnected this year. I am SO glad we only switch for 1 thing.
Our 4th isn't switching anymore, so I don't understand why 3rd is switching!
We switch, so I teach my HR reading/L.A. and then I teach science. There are times I would like to keep my kids all day because I really enjoy teaching my kids, but I'm not upset about the fact that I don't have to teach SS or Math.
Last year I was in a situation where we didn't switch and I found we weren't doing as much science and social studies, if any, by late March in an attempt to get ready for testing. Not sure how I feel about that.
Overall, I like switching and only having to plan for 3 lessons each day!
There are a few reasons we are switching to sc. One of them is because the students cannot handle the transition. My teaching partner doesn't have the best management of her class and my class walks all over her. A lot of my students come back and are mad that they have to go over there for social studies (I teach science to both classes).
Another reason is that in our grade level we have the highest achievment gap. With AYP we need to make sure we are hitting the areas that these students need help with. For most of them it's reading, writing, and math. By not switching it would allow more time for the aides I have to work with them and it would allow me to be more flexible with them as well.
I feel like it's my fault the way my class behaves when they go over to her room. I know it's not but I just can't help it. I have never had a class act like this when going to her class. Believe me in years past students have said how boring it is blah blah blah and I tell them to be respectful and get used to middle school when you have different teachers and they all are different. This group just doesn't get it.
In my room they are alright for the most part. I don't have that many problems with them because they know the consequences. Over there...AHHH!!