Have you ever wondered what it would be like to loop with your students to the next grade? It can be a difficult decision to make. Before making that decision, you should weigh the pros and cons.
Looping means a teacher remains with the same group of students for more than one school year. I have taught multiple grades over the years and have looped four different times. Each time I discovered new things I liked (and disliked) about looping. Today I want to share those experiences with you.
THE PROS AND CONS OF A LOOPING CLASSROOM
I think it’s safe to say that if I have looped four times in the past, I have found more positives than negatives.
Since I already knew my students academic skills, behaviors, and work habits, I had a very quick start to the school year. After a quick refresher of rules and procedures, my students fell right back into the classroom routine. Any new students that were added to the mix seemed to jump right in. In other words, I got to skip over the honeymoon period!
Since I already knew where my students were academically, small group instruction, enrichment groups, and intervention groups began much more quickly. I also spent less time on beginning of the year assessments.
Looping with my students pushed ME to continuously improve. I found myself pushing out of my comfort zone, thinking more creatively, and finding new ways to keep my students engaged. I couldn’t just do the same old things I had always done which helped me grow as a teacher.
This all sounds great, doesn’t it? But there were some drawbacks and things I didn’t like about looping.
Because I kept the same group of students, I was changing grade levels. This meant I needed to spend more time researching the standards and familiarizing myself with new lessons and units.
Changing grade levels also meant finding new materials. I needed new books for read aloud and the classroom library, math games, reference posters, and more! Sometimes I was able to borrow from our library or other teachers, but I’m not going to lie – my wallet also took a hit!
In some buildings, a change in grade level also means a change in classrooms. Fortunately, I never had to change rooms just because I changed grade levels. This is just something to keep in mind if your building is organized by grade level teams.
By March of the second year, my classroom really felt like a family. This sounds great, but it also meant everyone was getting a little too comfortable with each other. The students would begin acting more like brothers and sisters who would fight and bicker over the littlest things. I could say this happens every year, but after two years together you could really feel it!
The most difficult part of looping for me (and the one I was least prepared for) was how hard it would be to say goodbye. After two years those goodbyes can be extremely emotional. And come September, starting over with a brand new group of students can make you feel like a brand new teacher all over again!
So, you might be wondering – would I ever loop again? If the right group of students came along I probably would! What about you? Have you ever looped with your students to the next grade level?
Looking for more teacher tips? Try these:
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ShaQuina Stanley says
I am looping this year with my students. I am a little nervous because I am changing a lot. I think I was too relaxed last school year and I am ready to be a little stricter this year and create more structure in areas I think I was to laidback in. I am not sure how my students are going to like all the changes. I am also excited because I get to have even more tighter bonds with my babies. My bunch is very talkative and they do argue about little things already. We start school in a few weeks and I am for the most part excited. I am moving classrooms. You are right about the wallet taking a huge hit. I am currently feeling the pain of that hit.
Thank you for this post. I just looped this year and absolutely loved it. My class changed a bit with about 8 new students but the bonds amongst my students with me and with each other became so strong. Shy students broke out of their shell and felt more comfortable with taking risks. It was difficult at times to create new ways to engage my students as what was fun year 1 made them yawn year 2. I think it helped me stretch and grow as a teacher. I had to say goodbye to them today and it was so sad. Starting fresh next year with a new group will be really hard for me and I’m sure it will for my students too!
Storie Belden says
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with looping! I’m so glad you found looping to be a rewarding experience that helped you grow. Those goodbyes certainly don’t get any easier after two years together, though.
I looped for the first 10 years of my career. I was a better teacher and I loved it. Those students still come back to tell me about how much those two years shaped them and inspired their love of learning. For me, it allowed me to slow down, explore content more deeply, and it allowed students to develop interests and try new things because they felt safe and supported.
Storie Belden says
Thank you for sharing your experience with looping! It’s a magical thing to watch students bloom in a space where they feel safe and supported. I definitely agree with what you said about being able to slow down and enjoy content more deeply, too.