Ah, switching grades. An exciting adventure? An overwhelming obstacle? A little bit of both? Switching the grade you teach can feel like a really. big. deal. Because it is. Fortunately, there are ways to make the transition easier. We gathered some great advice from teachers who have made the move to another grade —  and lived to tell the tale. Check out these 10 gems of advice, and find even more insight on our Facebook post.

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  • Network and connect with other teachers as much as you can. Find other teachers at your school who are in your new grade level, and ask them if they’d mind doing some planning together. As you know, educators have a passion for teaching others that translates beyond the classroom — most will be eager and happy to help you.

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  • Ask some questions to fellow teachers and if there’s one that seems really eager to help, there’s a good chance he or she would be honored to be your mentor. Make sure that person is someone you look up to and respect, but also someone that conquered the same goal you’re looking to achieve (such as someone who’s switched grades before). A mentor will give you the confidence, direction, and tools you may not have had before. If your school offers it, ask your administrator for a mentor teacher.

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  • Once in the classroom, take the time to get to know your kids. They’ll show you what they need to learn, and what methods work best for them. It’s one of those things that will come naturally if you listen first. It’s an adjustment, but it’s always about the kids. They’re lovable at every grade level!

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  • Filter materials you developed for a former grade to reuse them for your new grade. Many teachers pointed out that although you may have to tweak some things, there are many topics and themes that can also be relevant in your new grade. Don’t feel like you have to throw away everything you’ve done! If you modify and reuse as much as possible, your hard work will not go to waste.

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  • Did you know that if you’re on the TpT website and you hover over “All Categories,” you can choose to search “By Seller?” Once you click that, search for Teacher-Authors at your grade level. This is a great way to connect with resources and ideas that will work for you. If you’re moving to 7th grade, for example, try typing in “seventh” or “7th”. You’ll discover tons of new Teacher-Authors with your new grade right in their name!
  • You can also search resources by grade level using the left navigation bar under “grades.”

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  • Teacher-bloggers love sharing their knowledge and expertise. Search for blogs that are tailored to your grade level and spend some time reading both the newer posts and older posts. Just because a post was written last year doesn’t mean it isn’t something that can help you now. To keep track of blogs you follow, sign up for Blog Lovin’!

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  • Don’t be afraid to ask DOZENS of questions throughout the year. Switching grades can make you feel like a first-year teacher all over again, so remember that it’s OK to feel a little lost and to reach out for support. We heard from teachers who said they regret not asking for help and wish they would have leaned more on their friends, co-workers, and even the social media community for confidence and reassurance when they needed it most.

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  • Join a Facebook group for your new grade level. Talk to other TpT’ers about what groups they’re in and ask to join. You can also search for groups within the Facebook search bar. 
  • Use Instagram to connect with teachers at your same grade level. To get conversations started, like and comment on photos that interest you.
  • Search for boards on your new grade level on Pinterest. You’ll find tons of inspiration, ideas, tips, and resources that will help you get started.

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  • If you learn that you’re going to be switching grades last minute and think of it as a burden, your kids will be the ones impacted the most. Look at the switch in a positive way — it will give you an opportunity to learn, grow, and overcome obstacles. Arrive on the first day with a smile on your face.

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  • You are a master teacher at ANY level. Believe in yourself, and your students will believe in you!

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