In Defense of Young Students: The Pros and Cons of Teaching Levels 1-5

My name is Rebecca Frostad, and I am a 36-year-old married mother of one precocious 2-year-old. I just immigrated to Canada, where my husband is from, and we have settled in the expansive prairies. I have been teaching with Qkids for a year and a half, and it has been an exciting and growing experience. Hopefully, you find my blog posts entertaining, uplifting, and useful!

Blog #5: In Defense of Young Students: The Pros and Cons of Teaching Levels 1-5

If you have been teaching with Qkids for any amount of time and are a member of the Facebook group House of Qkids, you know that most of the veteran teachers have an age group or level that they prefer to teach. It's an interesting debate because there tend to be fairly strong feelings on both sides of the aisle about it. To be honest, there are pros and cons to each side, as most will point out.

As the highest class I have (yet) had the chance of teaching was nearly the end of Level 5, I can only comment on the pros and cons of teaching the younger students (Littles from here on out)-- Phonics through Level 5. This is all my opinion, of course. I'm sure other teachers have different reasons for liking or disliking teaching this age group, just as teachers of the higher levels have different reasons for liking or disliking teaching those classes. I will endeavor to limit myself to five pros and cons, although I'm sure on any given day most teachers can rattle off a longer list than this.

PRO #1: Most of the Time, the Littles Enjoy It When You Are Silly!

Generally speaking, the lower the level, the easier it is to keep your kids smiling. You can make silly faces or sounds, and they (most of the time) will just eat it up.

CON #1: The Older the Littles Are, the Less They Like the Silliness.

In a group ranging from 4-8 years old, the 8-year-olds will generally be less likely to enjoy the silliness.

PRO #2: They Have a Greater Likelihood of Leaving Feedback.

It has been my experience that the lower the level, the higher the likelihood that I will get feedback, and usually good feedback. It is a very rare occurrence for me to go more than two classes without getting tags. There are more parents directly or indirectly involved in the classes, so they tend to make sure to rate the experience.

CON #2: Greater Likelihood of Negative Feedback.

Unfortunately, the greater the number of responses, the higher the likelihood of negative feedback. I've found that while most parents of littles rate more on the side of the green tag, some of them look with a greater level of scrutiny whilst giving feedback. Sometimes that means a red tag because they didn't feel that their child was as praised as the other children, or they felt that our performance was a bit lackluster. Sometimes it can feel frustratingly retaliatory. I am 90% sure I have gotten a red tag because I couldn't figure out what sticker their child wanted at the leaderboard. On the other hand, it can serve as a helpful tool to show us where we could improve-- especially if we get the red tag more than once.

PRO #3: Littles Seem to Enjoy the Repetition.

Having a Phonics level class can get a little repetitive. PL1 classes are particularly so, with three main words for the phoneme, and one or two words of additional vocab. That said, most of the time, the littles don't seem to mind going over the words and sounds again and again. It can be really helpful for the retention of the vocabulary.

CON #3: It Can Feel Like Beating a Dead Horse.

Pardon the old turn of phrase, but the repetition can sometimes feel like you are beating a dead horse. This is particularly true when the kids pick up on the words and sounds right away, or if they already know them.

PRO #4: Classes With Littles Tend to Be High Energy.

The littlest Qkiddos tend to like things high energy, and usually, they are energetic themselves.

CON #4: Classes With Littles Tend to Be High Energy... and Require High Energy.

High energy can be really difficult to muster in the pre-dawn hours that we are teaching. Caffeine and/or sugar can help, but even they have their limits.

PRO #5: The Littles Can Be Some of the Most Forgiving Students You Will Teach.

We've all had classes where we didn't feel like we were able to bring our A-game. Generally speaking, as long as they had fun, they usually will forgive when we don't quite knock it out of the park.

CON #5: They Kinda Spoil You With Their Enthusiasm.

When you are used to teaching kids that get excited for what can sometimes be little things, it makes it more challenging to feel like you are really getting through to the kids that take a near-Herculean effort to get a smile out of.

Ultimately, no matter what age/level you prefer to teach, these awesome kids sure keep things interesting! 

My fellow veteran teachers, what do YOU think? What do you LOVE about teaching the little ones? If you prefer Level 6 and above classes, what are YOUR pros and cons?

If you are not yet a Qkids Teacher, you have a Bachelor's degree, a stable internet connection, and you would like to go on this crazy adventure of teaching kids on the other side of the world, click this link → ← to get started! 

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