Littles vs. Higher Levels: Top 5 Pros and Cons


My name is Rebecca Frostad, and I am a 38-year-old married mother of one precocious 3-year-old. I have immigrated to Canada, where my husband is from, and we have settled in the expansive prairies. I have been teaching with Qkids for about 3 years now, and it has been an exciting and growing experience. Hopefully, you find my blog posts entertaining, uplifting, and useful!

Littles VS. Higher Levels

After writing the first Pros-and-Cons list about a year ago, I had a number of people urge me to do a follow-up blog post comparing lower levels and upper levels. At the time, I had next to no experience in teaching uppers-- and by that, I mean that the highest class level I had taught was Level 5. Now, I have been teaching classes across the spectrum, from Phonics Level 1 up through about Level 11-- and sometimes all within a day's schedule! Each class and level has its own challenges and benefits. 

As I said in the original version of this blog, this is all my opinion, of course. I'm sure other teachers have different reasons for liking or disliking teaching each age group. I will endeavor to limit myself to five direct comparisons, for the sake of brevity (five pros AND cons for each would be 20 total entries, and no one has time to read all that!). So, without further ado, here we go!

Lowers 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. The uppers on the other hand will more likely react like Queen Victoria and not be amused.

Uppers Pro #1: 

You can have more discussions with the Uppers.

You might not be able to get away with a lot of silliness with the Uppers (with very few exceptions), but you can actually discuss the topics and terms in the lesson. The higher the level, the more in-depth the discussion can really go, whereas the Littles either get a deer-in-the-headlights confused look or get bored if they understand more English than implied by their level.

Lowers Pro #2: 

They have a greater likelihood of leaving feedback.

I have usually found that the lower the level, the higher the likelihood that I will get feedback. It is a very rare occurrence for me to go to more than two classes without getting tags, and thankfully, they tend to be green. There are more parents directly or indirectly involved in the classes, so they tend to make sure to rate the experience. That also means always bringing your A-game, because you are more likely to hear about it in those ratings. 

Uppers Pro #2: 

When you get green tags from them, you know they enjoyed the class.

While the lower-level students will give tags much more often, when they are left by upper-level students, you know you made an impression. A lot of uppers are basically left unattended during class, so they don't usually take the extra time at the end of class to rate it.

Lowers 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 for further examples. 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 retaining the vocabulary. Unless the class is way more advanced than expected... then you have to be creative and come up with strategies to keep the students engaged.

Uppers Pro #3: 

Upper classes still have vocab, but WAY less repetition.

If you feel like lower-level classes are beating a dead horse to get the information across and firmly implanted into little minds, uppers might be more your speed. There are vocabulary words in the lesson, but the higher the level, the more the vocab is just there to support the concepts being taught. It is much more frequent that there are only 10 slides, and at least one of them is a discussion about the lesson, so they make sure that the students know the terms they need to in order to grasp the concept and express their thoughts.

Lowers Pro #4: 

Classes with littles tend to be high-energy.

The littlest Qkiddos tend to like things with high energy, and usually, they are energetic themselves. This is great if (like me) you feed off of the energy of the class to engage with them-- the more excited they are, the better the class. On the other hand, they tend to require high energy as well, so if you are dragging, it won't go as well.

Uppers Pro #4: 

Although they tend to be more low-key, the uppers tend to engage more naturally.

Uppers tend to come across as a little “too cool for school” if you are used to the littles, but they are able to better engage with the content. They don't really need the teacher to entertain them and make it fun with excessive goofiness-- they generally will engage more on their own, and use the teacher as a sounding board for their experiences and thoughts. More than once, I have had really interesting and deep conversations with upper-level students who particularly connected with the lesson. 

Lowers 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 if we don't quite knock it out of the park.

Uppers Pro #5: 

When they enjoy the class, you will have no doubt about it.

As mentioned previously about the tags, uppers don't tend to give as many tags. That said, when they REALLY enjoy a class, you will likely see a load of green tags from it. In other words, the class was SO good, they went through the extra effort to tell you as much. 

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 the Level 6 and above classes, what are YOUR pros and cons? 

Shaping the future of E-learning together!  Helping Qkids family grow in your own way!

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