As the end of the summer approaches and the final words are added to the end of year reports it is time to look back at the year and start to think ahead to the next.
This has been the first year since qualifying (back in '91- last century !) that I have shared a class as a part time teacher. I teach 3 days each week (Wed-Fri) and I can honestly say that making the decision to go part time was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has renewed my enthusiasm for the job no end as well as giving me time to pursue my own interests and passions, some of which have enhanced my teaching , others have just made me a happier person! (and as a result a happier teacher!)
This year I have taught a mixed year 4 /5 class and will be doing the same next year. All the year 4's will stay with us to be joined by the rest of the year 4s along with some year 3's taking us to 35 in total (ratio 2:1 year 5:4)
Inevitably there have been questions raised by parents about this; it will be a challenging year. But every single class is challenging!
I read a blog the other day about class sizes http://www.manchestersalon.org.uk/does-class-size-matter.html and also http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/battle-of-the-studies-does-class-size-matter/
There seems to be little evidence one way or the other.
I have taught a class of 18 year 3's and found it frustrating to have that number of children because discussions and group work lacked the spark you have with a larger class. That said, the idea of marking all those books , writing all the reports and seeing all the parents will have its challenges! Peer marking and teaching the children how to work with high levels of independence will feature strongly I have no doubt!
Those children who will be remaining in our class for the next academic year start off at an advantage I feel as they already know the routines of the class and will be able to help the others settle in and find their feet. Children who will be moving onto a new class having spent their Y4 and 5 in our class have all made significant progress this year (3 sub levels for 6 out of the seven in reading all bar one with SpLD two sub levels in maths and writing ) with the greatest progress being in their confidence and willingness to have a go.
I think that it is a privilege to be able to "keep" some children for more than one year- I once followed a whole class through from year 4 to 5 and it was definitely one of the most successful experiences I have had so far.
I'd be very interested in any responses re. children staying in classes.