Whether I'm still too new to the teaching game to know any better, too idealistic to see, or simply too enthusiastic to care, I really like teaching composite classes. (I like them as a parent too. Scoff away, I actually do. They've been great for my kids.) Whether the reading age range is 6 - 13 in a year 3 class or 6 - 15 in a year 3/4 class, the challenge of meeting needs across a broad spectrum already exists.
Sure, the challenges that arise in delivering a mandated curriculum with year level specific outcomes are interesting but not insurmountable.Often, at least here in Australia, the curriculum demands development of big ideas and concepts rather than specific content. And when specific content is described, there are always ways to combine; extend; offer smaller groupings or independent learning activities. These are the good challenges of being a teacher! (They certainly beat the challenge of sending home children to homes where they're neglected or worse.) These challenges offer us the chance to be creative and make connections between learning areas and topics. These challenges allow us to step up and create amazing learning opportunities. These challenges allow our communities to see us as committed, passionate professionals.
|Working together in a 5/6 class|
So why the debate? And why the defensiveness that schools show in choosing composite class structures? Yesterday I read an email from a local school about the class placement process for next year that included a very defensive (and almost hostile) announcement of an ongoing composite class structure. It made me sad to see that the school has such a negative attitude about next year's class structure because it has to include composite classes. Isn't it time for schools to embrace this concept and make the most of the opportunities on offer?