Looping is a common discussion and consideration within schools. A teacher who stays with the same students for multiple years is “looping”. In June of 2015, Justin Minkel wrote a piece on EdWeek about his experience as a looping teacher. He claimed four valuable results of the practice.
- I knew the kids really, really well.
- I knew the parents really well, too.
- I had an extra year to build rapport and routines with students.
- I got a second chance to fill the gaps – in the kids’ knowledge and my own instruction.
I have thought about the process of looping before. Parents have even approached me with the consideration. However, while drowning in nostalgia during a recent rerun of Boy Meets World, a new thought occurred to me.
Mr. Feeny was an elementary school teacher for the students in the show.He then became their middle school principal, traveled with them to high school as their principal, and of course became a professor at the local college. This all is ridiculously far fetched and potentially dangerous. But when considering the positive impact of a teacher looping with students, or a program like Higher Achievement keeping track of a student throughout their academic career, is it so ridiculous?
Roll with me on this. What if a school leader in was able to loop with students through the transition years of students’ academic lives? What if elementary and middle schools had a school leader of 4th through 7th grade and a school leader served students 8th through 10th? Those years of transition which reflect dips in academic achievement and an increase in dropout rates could be years of consistent support and care. The same four benefits of a teacher looping would be amplified. We would be getting away from the idea that students entering middle and high school are no longer in need of true nurturing and consistency. We would be providing a schools with a voice who can speak to the previous years’ strengths and weaknesses and family structure. The benefits would be worth the headache of the complex plan. Schools would be a place that supports the whole child and family through some of the most difficult years of their lives. We would be valuing school as something more than just a holding place for certain age groups. We would be truly teaching students about care.
Minkel, J. (2016). Why Looping Is a Way Underappreciated School-Improvement Initiative. Retrieved December 02, 2016, from http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2015/06/17/looping-a-way-underappreciated-school-improvement-initiative.html