The elementary school that I attended opened the year before I started kindergarten. At the time the school was designed with rooms that catered to entire grades – not just class sizes.
Three modular walls separated each group of students as there were four instructors assigned to each grade. Each student was assigned a homeroom teacher. But the homeroom teacher was not necessarily the same teacher assigned for math or reading or science, etc. All of the students were taught by all of the teachers for that grade. It was actually a very good system.
I did not appreciate it then. Nor did I realize that it wasn’t the normal procedure for an elementary school to function in that manner. Most every person that I know has had only one teacher per grade during his or her years at elementary school. As I look back on it now, I appreciate having had the opportunities that I did for having been exposed to a variety of teachers and not just one.
I have never thought it fair to either teacher or student to have to teach all subjects at every level. Although Dick, Jane, Sally and Michael may be in the same grade does not mean that they are on the same level. Dick may be exceptionally smart in math while Michael excels in reading. Sally may struggle with science and Jane may struggle with spelling.
The four teachers would teach the same subjects, but at different levels. Mrs. Cleaver may have taught the gifted students math and taught the no so gifted Science and the average students reading. And Mr. Jones may have also taught an average reading class but taught a math class for students who were struggling. Therefore Dick would have been in Mrs. Cleaver’s math class but may have had Mr. Jones for another subject.
I was always in the “less gifted” class- sometimes average. I was never put in with the gifted students. For the most part I struggled.
Backpacks were for camping back then. The idea of taking one to school was unheard of. Each student had a tote tray with his or her name on it. At the indicated time we would move our tote trays from one desk to another – walking passed the modular walls from one classroom to another. We didn’t have to walk through the halls to get from one room to another. The group of classes was called a pod and all our transitions were made inside of the pod.
I know that some of the charter schools use the method of sending students to different teachers according to that level. I would like to see it done in the public schools. It makes more sense to me.
I am grateful for having had the opportunity to learn from a variety of teachers. I’m grateful that Jenna has the opportunity for having at least two instructors per grade level while she is elementary school. I am also grateful that she has a better grasp on education than I did. I pray that she will continue to endure.