I was told this week that I get to teach 5th grade again next year! I am so excited. Although we hope to have the choice where we want to teach or stay, it doesn't always happen, so I was elated to find out that I get to spend another year in 5th grade. I spent a full year there student teaching and have taught 2 full years in 5th since, so this will be round 4. And the I know the best year yet! Student teaching gave me a ton of experience in just being in the classroom and procedures. My first year, I focused on math and writing. This year, with having a student teacher strong in reading, I was able to recreate what reading looked like and will hopefully continue that process into next year. I am in search of something to "fine tune" for next year. I believe I am going to work on more "tiering."
This was very successful last year, but I did not end up doing it too much this year. Tiering is where you pre-assess the students and small group them accordingly. So if 5 students know 8/12 concepts, you only teach them the 4 remaining concepts, and then extend their learning, for example. It is a great way to differentiate instruction, but can be a lot of work. I did it with math regularly last year, and the students learned. Next year I also get a new math curriculum, so why not start it up again full force. While I am writing this, I had a brainstorm for how this can be done in reading as well. I can make my reading groups more fluid, almost daily.
There is always something that can be worked on as teacher. Our job is always changing. We are not only teachers, but always students ourselves.