Hi everyone! I am going to *TRY* to start a weekly linky party. I am always interested in learning new things, hearing about how things are going in other places outside of my school, and getting other perspectives. This linky party will have a different trending topic each week, always in relation to education. My hope is that you all you will link up to share your thoughts, views, and experiences.
This week's topic is...
I received an email yesterday from someone who wanted to know more about how departmentalization in my school, as well as the pros and cons. So, I decided that this would be a great topic since I have heard both good and bad views on this.
I teach 2nd grade in Texas. This is our second year being departmentalized. I teach ELAR (reading, writing, spelling, language) and my partner teaches math, science, and social studies. I spend the first 2.5 hours with my homeroom class in the morning, we go to lunch/recess, and then we switch. In the afternoon, I get my partners class and we also have specials. At the end of the day, the kids quickly switch back just to get their things. Our students have binders and pencil boxes that they carry back and forth from each class. Homework, behavior cards, and all that are kept in the binders. All books, workbooks, notebooks, etc. stay in their desks in whichever classroom they are used. My homeroom gets the left side and my partner's class gets the right side.
Here are my thoughts on how it's going, again, just my perspective. I'm sure others feel differently.
- Less planning in general. You can focus just on the topics that you teach and can devote more time.
- Less teachers when planning since you only need to plan with the teachers that teach the same subjects as you. (Really only an issue if you have a huge school. I guess it could be a con in a small school...you could be the only one teaching your subject.)
- You can get really comfortable with the subjects you are teaching because you have more practice and experience.
- You are also able to focus more on data collection, etc. for your given subject area. There is more direction.
- Your room can be set up to focus solely on the subjects that you are teaching (word walls, stations, etc.).
- Less materials are needed (district wise). We had 10 2nd grade teachers a few years back. Now we have 15. We no longer have enough materials (teacher's guides, nasals, etc. for each of our teachers/students. I have 25 reading books in my room and both my classes share them. Only half of the teachers need the materials for each subject area.
- The grass is always greener on the other side, but I feel like the ELAR teacher takes the burden as far as grading writing, planning for guided reading groups for 2 classes, etc. We also have to do more assessments, like DRA2, but don't get additional time or help doing so.
- We each have 2.5 hours. My partner teaches math and alternates between science and social studies. I think the division of time is not right. We have very low readers and writers and they need more! If I were self contained, I would devote more time to reading and writing.
- I teach in an area where the parents are not very involved. It is hard to build relationships with so many parents. Many parents are also confused as to who teaches what and what concerns to bring to which teacher.
- Hard to connect curriculum across subject areas. 7 of us teach ELAR, 7 of us do math/sci/ss...we meet separately and have no time with everyone together.
- Students lose their things going from class to class. Time is wasted packing up and switching.
- I do not feel like I know my students as readers and writers as well as I should or used to when I was self-contained. I don't think the math/sci/ss teachers emphasize reading and writing as much as they should since it is not their main focus.
- If you and your partner are not on the same page, classroom management and setting expectations and routines can be challenging.
- We have a lot of struggling students and must offer tutorials because we have no intervention time scheduled into our day nor do we have interventionists. If there are a handful of students struggling in each class, the tutorial group is all of a sudden ten students, which is just too much. In addition the same students that need reading tutorials, need math tutorials. So teachers have to alternate days and the students just aren't able to get as much extra support.
- You lose familiarity with the subject(s) you are not teaching.
So...I'm sort of not for it after trying it. But it could also just be the way it is done in my school. 2nd grade is also earlier than when this is usually done. I'd loved to hear your thoughts or experiences!
In order to get this linky off to a good start, I am giving away $25 to my TpT store. Follow my blog to enter. Afterwords, you can enter again by leaving a comment with a future topic suggestion and/or linking up to this post about departmentalization.
Please feel free to link up at any time throughout the week or link up to a previous post on the topic for others to browse.