Friday, September 24, 2010
Class Size Matters
Today was test number one for my algebra kids.
My period 7 class has 34 kids in it, 34 kids who show up on a regular basis. They aren't a bad group but they need non stop monitoring. No one would believe the sounds that came out of some while they were taking the test. They weren't cheating or even talking just making some strange noises which, I'm not even sure some knew they were making. It was a very strange situation. Proctoring this group was much harder than teaching them.
My period 9 class has register of 19. I probably shouldn't advertise this but with computers and all, someone will pick it up anyway and the dynamics will change. Today, one went home sick, two new admits did not show and one regular was absent. Because it is a small group and very manageable, I called the father of my absent girl while the kids were working. Naturally he had no idea as to why she was not in class and although he did not jump to conclusions, he said he would get an answer about her attendance when she got home. The best thing about the call was the reaction of the kids in the class. They couldn't believe I had done that. They told me they wouldn't mess around with me because I mess around with them. One girl, with a history of cutting said, "Damn, I'm glad I saw that. Now I am never going to cut this class."
The ed deformers never mention class size. The Post accused a Queens high school of crying crocodile tears because they filed a law suit about class size. I couldn't have made the call I did period 7. Small classes are a big part of the answer.