Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Survivors

The mayor and the chancellor claim class size should not matter and that a quality teacher is all that is needed. Boy, can I prove them wrong this year.

My geometry classes consist of 34 kids each. Out of the 34 kids, at least 28 of them have some sort of attention deficit and have trouble focusing. This is not a good combination. They feed off of each other and it doesn't matter how they are seated. I have kids that would make friends with the cobwebs if there was no one around to talk to.

Having these problems doesn't make these kids bad kids or dumb kids but it does make it hard to teach them and it is hard for them to learn. But, the majority of them do want to succeed, although you would never believe this if you walked into my classroom and saw the cell phones and i-pods that I am constantly yelling about and listened to the mouths that do not stop yakking away.

Since the AP exam is over and my college now class is over, I feel like I am on vacation and have been able to put all my effort into these two classes. I've been grabbing the kids wherever I find them and making them work, even if it is only for ten minutes at a time. In this one-to one or small group situation, they are learning and succeeding. I can get them to do more in this mini session than I can in class in 45 minutes. (I just marked their finals and almost all passed!)

The quality of my teaching is immensely better in the small group situation. That is the one thing that works. The Bloombergs, Kleins and Obamas of the world know this. Their own children attended or attend schools with small classes. The UFT knows this. They spend thousands of our hard earned dollars going on television talking about how they got smaller classes yet my classes and those of my colleagues are still packed to the gills. Charter schools know this and they do have smaller class sizes.

Years ago I had a big aquarium. I knew that number of fish that would survive based on the size of the tank. Too many and they would all die. NYC students are like the fish in the over stocked aquarium and they are dying by the minute.


NYC Educator said...

I couldn't agree more. I also find it unconscionable that Ms. Weingarten's machine dares to take credit for class size "reforms" when they've clearly failed. Probably this was because they were specifically worded to provide no consequences for the mayor for failing to comply. So much for vision amongst our leaders.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on your post and NYCEd's comment.

Anonymous said...

Awesome analogy of the fish tank. I totally agree. It never ceases to amaze me how the people who don't spend a lick of time in the classrooms think they know what's best for the classrooms.