Why, you might ask?
For one, I will probably be too emotional to put anything into words, and I will probably stumble over my words, hence not getting the message across what I'd like to say... in an eloquent way.
Therefore, I'm choosing to write about it now (and to give me some time to buy some kleenex, too).
If I could explain the experience in one word the past 2 years with these wonderful students that I've had the pleasure of teaching, it would certainly be:
Never before have I had the opportunity (or really the desire) to take the students that I taught one year, and then go to the next. The reasons I felt at the time were that each student really needed a new teacher from year to year, and to let them go on to a new teacher at the elementary level is something that (I thought) needed to be done.
My, oh my, how my opinion has changed!!!
If you ever have the opportunity to do it... I would highly recommend jumping at the chance!
You wouldn't necessarily have to do it every year, but it really gave me a wonderful insight into each student on a daily basis for 2 full years.
Now granted, we had a few that didn't participate for the two years for various reasons, and therefore we had a handful of students that simply took their place in year #2.
What a great teaching experience, though, to allow the students who were part of year #1 ... to take the new students in year #2 under their wing, and develop them like they had been with us all along.
As you've heard me say before, we learn 95% of what we teach someone else... and learn they did!!!
In addition, I will have to say, that not only was this the smoothest 2 years overall, but also the biggest gains academically that I've seen in my career. Many students are reading 2, 3, and sometimes 4 grade levels ahead of where they're supposed to be! How amazing is that!
If you're wondering how the students did socially... it definitely had its moments at times, but I consider it to be similar to a "family" situation ...where you are going to have conflicts if you're around someone for an extended period of time. They usually worked it out beautifully (with a little help occasionally).
It's HOW you handle those conflicts that determines your CHARACTER... and I was very fortunate to have some high quality, character students!
Would YOU ever consider looping? It is a tough question, I know!
Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions, I can always try to help.