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Changing Grade Levels: What to Consider Before Making the Switch

September 24, 2019

/ by

Jeff Hersh


The best teachers are the ones who always keep their skills sharp and seek out new challenges. The eagerness to continue to learn is the spirit we want to instill in students, and it starts with the teacher’s own drive.


Sometimes teachers find they are in need of a new curriculum. Changing grade levels is an ideal way to continue to develop professionally and keep the job feeling fresh.


Before making the switch, it is important to consider a few questions:


Can you make the change in your current school?


Whether you’re a 7th grade teacher interested in teaching 8th grade, or a 2nd grade teacher interested in teaching 5th, the first thing you need to think about is if there is an opportunity to stay in your school and still make the change. Talk to your administrators and let them know you are interested in trying a new grade level. You may discover teachers in your coveted grade level preparing to retire or move to different schools. Collect the information so you can make the decision that best helps your cause.


Do you want to change schools?


Transferring schools can be great way to change perspective and add a new spark to your career. It will mean new colleagues, new students from different backgrounds, and even new opportunities, but it can be challenging. Some teachers will make the switch from city districts to suburban districts, or vice-versa. This does mean on some level you are starting over again, only with years of experience behind you. If this kind of change excites you, find a school and district that has openings in the grade level you want to teach. Be receptive to all possibilities and you’ll find success wherever you choose to teach.


What Does Your Administrator Think?


You’ve determined that it’s time for a new challenge, and changing grade levels is the best way for you to continue developing your teaching skills.It’s important to meet with your department head and administrators to discuss your new found goals. They can provide insight on the proper procedures for making the switch and how you might begin to prepare. . They will also be your ally when searching for openings. Speaking with your principals lets them know exactly what you hope to accomplish and empowers them to want to help you.


How Much Preparation Time Do You Need?


Starting a new grade level means you’ll spend a lot of time preparing new lessons. Depending on the jump in grade level, you’ll also need to prepare for teaching a new age group. Before making the decision to switch grades, start planning how much time you’ll need to prepare for big changes. Plan ahead and make sure you give yourself all the time you can afford to make the transition as smooth as possible.


Changing grade levels is an exciting way for teachers to take on new challenges and push themselves to continue to evolve into better educators. Talk to your colleagues already teaching those grade levels you are interested in and start learning what you’ll need to prepare, even as you begin taking the steps to make the change.


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