We say hello and welcome students into our classrooms each September. In many cases, within ten months, we’ve established relationships with them, helped them to the extent that we could, and say goodbye in June.
Each year, we say hello and goodbye to a new set of students, and the question that I always ask myself is: Have I (or we) done enough for each child?
I always question whether the revolving door of students allows us to do everything that we possibly can. I’ve also noticed that in areas where teachers remain with students for multiple years or several years at a time, it’s easier to support students. I see the relationships that a basic skills teacher or a special education teacher is able to build with students over a longer time frame. I watch as our special area teachers try to reach students year in and year out.
This year has been that much harder to establish relationships and support students in what they need. It has made me ponder what next year should look like. Maybe it’s time we rethink our traditional class lists and new teachers. Maybe we give more consideration to looping (the practice of a teacher working with the same group of students for multiple years across multiple grade levels). Maybe in a dream world, we abandon the grade level dynamic altogether, and group students not by like age but by needed support.
I know there are ways to deal with the revolving door. I know that we also could probably come up with better ways of doing things. I’m not sure whether Hello Goodbye has failed us. At this point, I’m willing to look past it to see if there is a better way.