Where on earth did Term 1 go? The 10 weeks of Term 1 were some of the most exciting, challenging, and exhausting of my teaching career.
I’m one third of a collaborative teaching unit – we’re the 3 Js – Jo C, Jo F (me) and Julie K. In Term 1 we worked with 2 classes – 25 year 3/4 and 29 year 5/6. Term 2 sees the addition of 25 year 2 students. We started the year working mostly with our own classes. During those first weeks we met together as a team – we have a ‘hub celebration’ followed by PE skills on Monday mornings as well as fitness sessions together.
Week 6 saw us begin to work together during our topic sessions. Jo, Julie, and I had spent a Sunday working together talking about where we thought the unit would go (Energy) and came up with a couple of starter activities. The first was a wonderful collaborative art project created in groups of 4 students mixed from our two classes. It was amazing to see the students working together – talking with each other, and seeing the older students taking a leadership role. We followed this with a beginning discussion ‘What is Energy?’
At the end of the day Julie and I were exhausted but we both agreed – ‘We can’t ever go back to single class teaching!’
What we’re doing is the most natural thing in the world to me. It makes no sense at all to restrict kids to an age group and a single teacher – and we’ve seen the two classes respond so well that at times onlookers wouldn’t be able to tell who is in ‘my’ class and who is in Julie’s. To me the reward is seeing how much all these kids are enjoying themselves – the younger kids just love working with the older ones, and the older ones just love having younger ones looking up to them.
Our goals for our kids are to help them become self-managing learners – from the year 2s up. We believe that they are capable of managing themselves (with guidance and support) and we believe that they are flexible enough to work with three different teachers. There’s no ‘dummy’ class for core curriculum subjects – in fact we’ll develop our roles so that it’s not just me teaching the top groups or Jo C teaching the bottom groups – it’s flexible teaching.