Monday, January 16, 2012

A fish out of water?

Last year was my first year teaching 4th grade after 8 years in Kindergarten, and 2 years in 3rd grade. I made the move because I was feeling burned out in kindergarten and thought it would be a good idea to get my passion back by moving to a grade level that I had never taught before and it worked. I was super excited about the move and the challenge of a new grade level. Last year I felt like a fish out of water and I knew it was because technically that's what I was. I figured it would pass with some time.; When I first started teaching kindergarten I had that same feeling of having no clue what I was doing but with 8 years of experience and a National Board Certification in Early Childhood when I left kindergarten I felt like somewhat of an expert. Now that my 2nd year of 4th grade is half over I am a little concerned because I still feel like that fish out of water. When it comes to early childhood I know what I'm doing and feel good about what I do and the choices I make. With 4th grade I am constantly second guessing the choices I am making. In primary I could see the growth the students made and I didn't have students who groaned when it was time to learn something new. In 4th grade that growth is a lot more subtle and sometime I have to wonder are they actually getting it and I hate hearing "do we have to?" when I say "take out your math book."

I find myself wondering if it is, once again, time for a change. I know that I do NOT want to go back to kindergarten but I feel like I am more productive and actually a better teacher in the primary grades. I have been really thinking a lot about the possibility of asking for a transfer to 2nd grade next year. I feel like that would give me the best of both worlds, the little ones who are becoming independent. It would also remove the stress of the state standardized assessments too which I absolutely despise, because in Florida 3rd grade is the first year for state standardized assessments. I also feel like it might be a good move for personal reasons as well, namely I could request to stay in my current classroom since it is right next to the 2nd grade hallway and was actually built to be a primary classroom. I just don't know if there will be any openings in 2nd grade next school year which brings me to my other area of thought... I have been at my current school for 6 years, ever since we opened, and I have a strong bond with so many people there, especially those who also opened the school. Lately I have been feeling like I am in a rut and the only way out is a fresh start. I like having my school so close to my house (literally 5 minutes away) but there are a total of 8 other elementary schools within a 5 mile radius of my house and I am wondering if it is time that I start considering a change of location as well as grade level. Of course this is all just thinking, I have not yet made up my mind as to what I would like to do and I won't make that decision hastily. It will require a great deal of thought and also prayer. I have always relied on God to place me where He needs me to be. Which of course makes me wonder if the thoughts I am having are His way of telling me that its time for me to move on. I've also wondered if the fact that I was discontented in Kindergarten my last year there, and now again am finding myself feeling a bit discontented is a sign that maybe I'm ready to leave the classroom and move on to another area of education. Apparently I have a great deal of thinking to do.

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