Friday, October 29, 2010

It Only Took Seconds

Mr. and Mrs. Smith came to see me this afternoon. Their daughter Jenny did not bring home a stellar report card and they were concerned. 

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.


Anonymous said...

I wish the ed deformers could read this post...I guess it is like talking to a brick wall and wanting to bang your head against it.

I really do hope that our current situation on education is ONLY a phase and that it shall pass. One can only hope.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher as well and am also amazed at how we - the teachers - seem to the be only influence in education that "gets it."

Size matters.

Lessons Learned said...

Sweet Tracie,

The ed deformers' main objective is to make a profit. This here will mess with their money...

What will it take?

Ricochet said...

Had two kids come in my class-from-hell to take a test. One left sometime around the middle, the other was there at the end - but I wasn't watching them.

AP comes in afterwards and said both boys left in the middle but I knew one had been there at the end. Couldn't tell him when the other left. He didn't get it.

Anonymous said...

I would confer with her other teachers. I had kids to excelled in math or ELA, but not both.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that low class size does make a difference. I was never a 'wonderful math student' as a child and adolescent. I had a slight learning disability when it came to math. I was placed in smaller class in 6 grade. I did extremely well so the school put me in a regular sized math class for 7 grade.
As you can probably imagine, I did not do so well. The class probably had about 23 children or more and the teacher did not reach to every learner.

Molly said...

I hae one class of 20 kids, and they are all doing considerable better than in my other classes of 34, all things being the same in both classes.