As I prepare for the upcoming school year, I have been wondering about the idea of specializing in specific grade level. As an English teacher, each year has a set of expectations, both in reading skills and writing skills , that we must accomplish. Certainly the same can be said for the other disciplines, only in a slightly different way.
Doctors are trained to have a broad and general understanding of the medical world, but then focus on a specific discipline. Some choose to be pediatricians, while others go into orthopedics. That becomes their speciality, what they focus on and are best at. They tend not to stray from that discipline. In teaching, your average teacher is asked to be a specialist in more than one category. Teachers are often in support of this dabbling mentality. But it seems to me that if we are going to be most effective, we ought to focus on a specific grade level.
Wouldn't it do our students a world of good if we were truly experts in our area. Next year I will be teaching Freshmen despite teaching Seniors last year. My entire summer, outside of teaching summer school, is focused on preparing new material for the year. I think I had some success last year, and would have enjoyed the challenge of modifying what I had done. In fact, I had already started working on that as the year wound down. But maybe I will find that Freshmen are my niche. Maybe I find I enjoy teaching them. Shouldn't I be allowed to focus all of my prep time on that. Five classes of 9th grade English.
Why not? The detractors say it will be boring and monotonous. But I think that a good teacher would not allow himself or herself to become boring and monotonous. I want to be the best teacher around. I think I can reach my maximum ability by focusing on a grade level. Who does it hurt?