Teaching Multi-Grades? Schoolio Can Give You Your Life Back.
By Chelsea McLeod
Look familiar? Are you spending all your spare time doing prep that seems neverending to keep up? Are you overwhelmed with student needs and classroom outcomes? Are you struggling with teaching multi-grades?
Let me paint you a picture. You teach in a rural area; your school is K-12, and each homeroom is multi-graded. Some grades only have 1 or 2 kids, so while you may only have a class of 8-10 students, you have four grades at once and hundreds of outcomes to cover and assess. So not only do you have to try to differentiate for student interest, but you also must plan, teach, assess and grade the outcomes from each separate curriculum.
You teach several grades simultaneously, unlike your friends who work in nearby larger city centers, but you are given equal prep time. Therefore, much of your work comes home because even if there isn’t time in the school day, these things need to get done. So once you are home, you are taking time away from your family or hobbies to keep up with your day-to-day classroom duties. If this rings true for you, then Schoolio can help give you your life back.
While many still consider teaching a calling, the shift in the last several years to an outcomes-based system has put more pressure on the Teacher. Teaching these days is an endless cycle of being in demand. You are lecturing, working one-on-one with students, meeting seemingly arbitrary administrative deadlines, attending meetings, responding to emails, communicating with parents, collaborating with co-teachers, etc.
The list of responsibilities given to teachers in the classroom is unrealistic; these are on top of the duties of running the classroom day-to-day and keeping your students engaged. Then we add on the testing, assessments, marking, and report cards required for each student in your class, in many cases the stress of teaching multiple grades. This can be for as many as 25+ students.
Teaching is Work. Give Yourself Some Grace and Help. Especially when Teaching Multi-Grades.
The expectation of Teachers does not create nor support a healthy work-life balance, but for many, it is the reality.
So you spend your days in a cycle that looks like a hamster in a wheel. Teaching all day, putting out fires with students, communicating with parents, meeting all deadlines for administration and keeping your head above water only to go home and spend your evening planning, prepping and working on tomorrow, like in the picture above. This is a lot; this is an astronomical task you take on as a classroom teacher. While these responsibilities are genuine for all classroom teachers, imagine that you have a multi-graded classroom.
This not only changes the dynamic with the students but also adds to the Teacher’s workload. You now have all the above responsibilities and the added pressure of 2, 3, or 4 sets of outcomes. This is what it can be like if you are in a rural school, sometimes teaching 3 to 4 grades simultaneously. This was not always the case; several years ago, it was the norm to teach the curriculum in an even/odd schedule in many rural settings.
This meant that if you had a grade 3/4/5/6 class, you would teach all the curriculum for grades 4 & 6 one year and the next, you would cover the curriculum for grades 3 & 5. This was a seemingly more manageable way to approach a multi-grade classroom. However, in our current education climate, this is no longer an allowable approach by many school divisions, and therefore Teachers, especially those with 3-4 grades, are feeling overwhelmed and overworked. The expectation of Teachers does not create nor support a healthy work-life balance, but for many, it is the reality. And while this can seem like an unrealistic expectation, the students still need to learn at their appropriate level. So now what?
Save Your Time, Money and Your Sanity
For starters, if you teach in this situation, you must prioritize your time and prep. Not only for yourself but for your students as well because “you cannot pour from an empty cup,” and if we spend all of our free time on work, it will lead to burnout. I can tell you for sure that you do not need to spend time creating all of your resources; your time is precious, and there are only 24 hours in a day. Not everything your students do, learn or complete needs to be unique.
There used to be a time when teaching was a “one-size-fits-all,” and all teachers were given the same guide. This is a time-consuming task for teachers with only 1 grade, but you have 3, 4 or even 5? You cannot be expected to use all your resources or put that much pressure on yourself, and relying on Teachers Pay Teachers for everything can get expensive, especially because sometimes it’s difficult to purchase only 1 or 2 lessons.
For example, if you have grades 3, 4, and 5, it can get pretty pricey to purchase one entire unit for all three grades and if there are 10-12 units in a year for just one subject… You get the idea. An extra expense with each purchase. Way too much! Which is on top of the fact that teachers already spend more out of pocket than other professions.
How Schoolio Can Give You Your Life Back…
There is no limit to the number of students you can add, the courses you have access to or the learning that will take place!
Schoolio has created resources for each grade level, and you can mix and match them to best support your student’s needs. You do not have to buy entire units for one or two valuable lessons. The lessons have been created by certified teachers and are available online for a monthly per-student cost.* You can simultaneously use more than one grade at a time, focussing on student needs, interests or passions.
There is a suggested content planner for the year you can use, or you can create your own and keep track of progress for all your students. You can try it risk-free, with no required credit card and “Learn, plan, and personalize all in one place” with 4000+ interactive math, language, science, and social studies lessons. There is no limit to the number of students you can add, the courses you have access to or the learning that will take place! Try it now; you won’t regret it. And you won’t believe the extra free time you will have now that you aren’t trying to do it all yourself, especially when teaching multi-grades.