Letter: On teaching younger students…

This is the second in a series of letters I will be exchanging with one of my colleagues on a variety of issues. The full text of her letter also appears on her blog.

Dear Matt,

Since we started with the subject of “changes” in my life, I have been thinking about changes in your own.

When we first met, you were a new teacher, teaching a fifth grade general ed class with intermediate to advanced ELLs. I was always impressed to peek in your room and see the arts & crafts, the student photography, the baking, and overall “homey”, creative atmosphere in your room. Your students were eager, conversant, and had many years in this country and in formal education.

Now you are teaching younger students in a self-contained Special Education bridge class. I know you kind of fell into this new kind of teaching; younger children, children with special needs, etc., and I have yet to see you teach this group. Are you still sarcastic and chummy? Or do you now see yourself more as a father-figure? Do the arts and crafts have an even more memorable impact on the kids?

Reading your posts, I find myself wondering : do you prefer this new position? If you could choose, would you prefer the older, more advanced youth with their own unique challenges, or remain with the second-third grade ages? Do you feel you are finding yourself as a teacher more now, or do you see this as a detour on your way back?

Looking forward to your response,


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