My view on the advantages and disadvantages of the work in combined classes

Trinaest godina rada što sa četvororazrednim, što sa trorazrednim kombinovanim odeljenjem pod okriljem Beljanice u mojoj profesionalnoj karijeri zauzimaju poseban status. Borba sa nedaćama na koje sam nailazila, a posebno način na koji sam uspevala (i još uvek uspevam) da iste nadvladam daju mi kredibilitet da javno kažem da je ovo jedan od najtežih poslova, bar kada je u pitanju osnovna škola.

The thought about my first work days spent in a combined class somehow always makes me let out a deep sigh – I remember my insufficient level of training for working with four grades at the same time, and to make things worse, I also had to fight against the scant level of equipment in teaching material and against many other problems as well. When starting school, the students from this place mainly do not have command of the reading and literacy technique. They spend their free time by helping their parents in agriculture or taking care of their younger brother or sister, so no one goes to the theatre, cinema, attends private lessons of piano, English and the like. Even if they wanted to spend time in a different way, it would simply be impossible in Izvarica, because there are no real possibilities for it. And the teaching itself must be organized differently. It is mandatory for me to implement four teaching units during one class (this sometimes happen to be four classes of the analysis of a new teaching unit) so that, for me personally, the problem of the available of teaching time is at the same time the most frequent problem in my work as well. I am also denied the possibility of organizing group work according to the propositions forced by the methodics of special school subjects because from year to year I have only had one student in some grades. Have you ever asked yourselves how Physical Education is implemented in these classes? How does it look like when one should master the basics of team plays and you do not have even the necessary equipment and props, sufficient number of students, let alone a gym? How the teaching of Music is implemented here? How to learn four little poems in one class?

BUT! Let's look at the other side of the coin!

          Only those who have not worked in these schools do not know how many possibilities for professional growth are hidden in them. Touched by the previously described problems, I was forced to work out a special methodology of my work in which the horizontal and vertical integration of teaching contents dominated. Therefore, in my opinion, there is greater choice for the organization of the so-called thematic days. Here information constantly “circulates“, students in higher grades always have the opportunity to revise the units form previous grades, and those who progress faster, from time to time, can do something even with students in higher grades. My classroom is a classroom without investment. Having used the existing teaching aids, I made with my students four corners on which I ground my teaching: the reading corner, mathematics corner and the music corner.

Some parents, due to the lack of time, cannot give their children additional support when it comes to doing homework. This is why I have formed a viber group and a student's page on the blog so that they would have adequate help even after classes. This and many other situations were encouraging for me and therefore they put me in the position of a constant professional development and work on the strengthening of my professional competences. It is also advantageousness that one can use numerous resources offered by the environment and one should use even the cooperation with the local inhabitants. 

I da ne bude zabune!Spisak prednosti rada u ovakvim odeljenjima je znatno duži, ali kako mi ni vreme ni prostor ne dozvoljavaju da kažem sve što bih volela da kažem, ostaje mi da se obratim učiteljskim fakultetima da svoje studente temeljnije pripreme za rad u ovakvim odeljenjima jer se, po nepisanom pravilu, mladi učitelji, tek svršeni studenti, šalju  na ovakva radna, a oni stariji  sa daleko dužim radnim stažom i iskustvom  prebacuju u tzv. čista odeljenja.

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