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What are the pros and cons to teaching any of the grade levels?

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Linda’s Answer

For 25+ years, I’ve taught and been certified in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) across ages, levels, language origins, and geographic areas. My BS is in Ed, grad courses in teaching ESOL, and MS in Library and Information Science.

Teaching pre-K and K requires more patience, a gentle but firm hand, more parental communication, and alertness but the children are usually more congenial, obedient, and I think they are fun! They require more physical interaction and effort but when I was younger my energy matched theirs and their efforts.

First to 3rd grade students start working more at “getting their acts together” as students. More academic and personal differences might appear. These ages have, of course, more abilities and can contribute more to class. I actually like recess duty but it is a serious challenge and requires attentiveness ( keeping eyes on the group not someone chatting).

Historically, 4th grade is when academics increase, and ESOL students at this level have needed increasing support. By 5th and 6th grades, students have usually advanced to face their challenges.

Yet, since most 6th graders are now in middle school, they are like “freshmen” in adjusting to a new system, increased social pressures, and, of course, many biological changes. Middle schoolers are another favorite of mine because many continue to be congenial and cooperative while also becoming more cognitive. I love learning their original ideas!

As cognition, biological, and social pressures increase, students can become less certain of themselves and distracted from academics. As learners and children, students through high school need outlets and enjoy some of the same activities they did in kindergarten. Remember they are still growing children, no matter what they say or do (to you, and others); continue firm guidance.

College-level learning is so much more academic but really learning how to teach and guide students is still more effective than simple lecturing. We cannot assume that these students are self-directed, have the same or necessary pre-requisites to understand your lessons, or abilities to be effective students in our higher ed systems. Their original thinking and/or diverse experiences can contribute a lot to class but they might not know how. Continue your firm guidance to help them become the independent learners they need to be.

Finally, my adult students have varied from professionals or the retired to high school dropouts. In general, older learners are more experienced and self-directed students. You will need to explain more why you’re instructing what you are and/or accept and apply student feedback. I begin work with most adults by explaining my teaching philosophy and approach while getting more details from as learners, also, since they usually have even more diversity than the young. Again, I enjoy learning from my students and recognize my greatest task is to understand how each one learns so that they reach their learning goals.

Linda recommends the following next steps:

You can begin preparing for any level of student by studying human development, learning and brain processes, and some psychology.
Plus, know yourself as a learner and plan direct, scaffolded study for yourself.
Empathize.
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Bob’s Answer

Betty, are you unsure if you want to be a teacher at the elementary verses the secondary level?
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Jennifer’s Answer

I teach at the college level. Here are some pros: 1. Students are more advanced, so you can give them more challenging assignments and teach tougher material. 2. You're helping them prepare for their career! 3. You're able to teach material that you really enjoy. 4. I'm able to engage with students outside of the classroom. Right now I'm the Psychology Club advisor.
But there are also some cons: 1. It's a big transition time for students, so their education may not always be the most important thing for them, which can make it difficult to keep them engaged in class. 2. Most colleges require a Master or Ph.D. degree, which is a lot of schooling. 3. Job market is tough right now.
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Michael’s Answer

The pros come from helping others be the best that they can be.
The cons come from those who don't realize the value of education
Always reach every learner because every student can learn.
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Lauren’s Answer

There are pros and cons to every grade level:
Do you like little children? If yes, then that is a pro.
Do you like to talk with teenagers? if yes, then that is a pro.
Are you comfortable with little kids who are learning how to wash their hands, blow their nose, cover their mouth when they cough and sneeze? If no, then that is a con, because as a teacher of little ones it is inevitable that you will be coughed on, sneezed on, see a child vomit, see a little one pee or poop their pants, etc.
Are you patient with people when they are grumpy? Do you have the patience to deal with young adults who test the waters by intentionally breaking rules and being disrespectful?
Are you interested in answering personal questions to teenagers who might come to you with advice regarding moving out, getting pregnant, or having their heart broken?

These are all examples of real experiences that you will have while teaching differing age levels. How you fare depends upon your reaction and tolerance to the differing situations that each age group presents.
Good luck! :)
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