Collaboration is one of my favorite things about my Inspired by Upper Elementary Facebook group. It’s a safe place where upper elementary teachers can ask questions, share ideas, and collaborate with one another. If you haven’t visited, you should definitely check it out!
Recently, a teacher asked about the pros and cons of departmentalizing in upper elementary. The discussion that followed was amazing and included a ton of great thoughts, tips and ideas. The whole discussion had me reflecting on the pros and cons of
departmentalizing in elementary schools…
the comments in the group, I’ve boiled it down to five key areas to consider
when deciding whether departmentalizing is right for you, your team, and your
school. If you are considering departmentalization, I hope these help you
make a well thought out decision that helps you meet the needs of your
with our students is a key factor in the learning process. A mentor once
told me that building a relationship at the beginning of the year is key
because once you have that relationship the students will do just about anything
for you, and she could not be more right. I saw these words in action year
after year. It’s important to consider the impact departmentalization will have
on your relationship with students.
- By departmentalizing, you are not spending as much time with your students. You lose time and activities that help to build relationships with students. Numerous teachers that transitioned from a self-contained classroom to a departmentalized approach felt that they did not have as strong of relationships with their students as they had in a self-contained setting. They also felt that they did not get to know their students as well as in previous years. (Note: Many teachers shared that although they were worried about this at the beginning of the year, it really didn’t come to fruition. They were able to be more intentional in their relationship building and didn’t see as much of a difference. I will note that when I was co-teaching and only seeing my students half the time, I was still able to build great relationship with my students.)