Back-to-School ‘Jitters’ and Group Learning Classrooms Have Teachers Excited For New Students

Local News

Some schools are already in session but in Harlingen, teachers are decorating and getting their classrooms in order.

While some kids are excited and nervous, so are the teachers.

News Center 23’s Derick Garcia caught up with teachers and learned a new classroom set up might improve learning.

“The night before I can barely get any sleep” said 3rd grade teacher Laura Anderson carrying stacks of children’s books.

It’s the calm before the storm at Dr. Hesiquio Rodriguez Elementary School in Harlingen.

In a few days classrooms will be filled with kids.

“It doesn’t look like anything’s organized at this point but it will be.” said Laura Anderson looking at her classroom.

Anderson has more than 20 years of teaching experience and has help setting up the classroom

“This is Ava Anderson and Ty Anderson and they’re helping me” said Anderson hugging her two helpers.

This year Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District is introducing a new group classroom set up.  

“Putting them in groups helps them learn from each other” said Anderson.

The seating is designed to encourage team work but as many parents and teachers know group projects can be loud but in this situation that’s kind of the point. 

“As long as it’s structured and you’re monitoring it takes a little bit of training but last year I had a lot of success with children helping other children” said Anderson.

The group seating is to encourage discussion, memory, collaborative learning and improving communication skills.

While Anderson saw the good side of group seating, not everyone was as onboard changing the classroom.

5th grade math and science teacher Jeff Hendrix was a little skeptical of the seating structure…

“I resisted for a while but after doing some research and learning more about it I’m getting really excited about it it’s the way of the future kids learn a lot better when they’re in groups” said Hendrix.

He’s anxious to see how group seating influences behavior with after school programs.

But first Hendrix and Anderson have to get through the back-to-school jitters.

“This is my fourth year so I definitely still get them…” said Hendrix

“The night before I can barely sleep” said Anderson

Both offered advice to teachers heading into their first year; have fun, teach respectfully and stay organized.

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