Friday, October 29, 2010
It Only Took Seconds
I actually had no idea Jenny was having difficulties in her other classes as she is a shining star in mine. Jenny is one of the first students to arrive. She is bright and motivated and is always going to the board to put up homework or just do a problem. Her lowest test grade of the year has been a 90. She helps the kids around her. She is an overall delight.
As I sat and raved about this little wonder, I kept noticing the scowl on her dad's face and the look of disbelief on her mom's face and they finally told me what they had heard from her other teachers. I was shocked and started doing some detective work to try to get to the root of Jenny's problems. Finally it hit all three of us at the same time. Jenny is in the class with only 20 students. These kids get lots of individual attention. I can tell anyone who asks exactly what each child knows and does not know and where their weaknesses and strengths lie.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith then turned to Jenny and asked her about the size of her other classes. All were packed with 30 or more students. Then they asked her about the math class she had difficulties with last year and in summer school. Again she said they were big. Mr. and Mrs. Smith asked me about getting Jenny into smaller classes for all her subjects. Of course I had to tell them this was probably impossible. Her class, being so small, was a fluke.
All the ed deformers seem to think teachers are the single most influential part of a child's education. And, while teachers are a major part, small classes could go a long way towards helping the teacher do a better job. It took Mr. and Mrs. Smith about 30 seconds to see the connection, a connection all these education experts have yet to make.