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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Knowledge of subject matter and switching teaching assignments

Knowledge of subject matter and switching teaching assignments

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My school district had several administors that believed in moving elementary school teachers from grade to grade every two or three years. Just when many teachers were beginning to feel comfortable with their knowledge of the subject matter for that grade level, they were forced to switch to a different grade level. I realize this can be a way to avoid burnout, stay energized, and facilitate teacher learning and growth, but most teachers were very against this practice. They felt that they were being taken out of a classroom where there knowledge of subject matter was very good and put into a situation where they had to learn a new curriculum. Many of their thoughts were that it wasn't fair to do this to the students. Is this a good practice as it expands teacher knowledge of all grade levels and curriculums, or a bad practice in that it may affect students because they may have a teacher who doesn't have the experience or knowledge of subject matter in the same way an experienced teacher in that grade level has?

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Rebecca F's picture

Terri that is a very good question and just like everything else, it has its good and bad points. It would avoid burn-out and teachers would develop and grow in their subject knolwedge area, however, the bad part, as you mentioned is that teachers have mastered a subject over the years and feel comfortable with their classroom setup. I guess it's a double edged sword. In my opinion, teachers should have self-motivation to feel the need to make a switch instead of being forced to do it.

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