Monday, October 29, 2012

Class Size Matters

Here I am at the end of the first quarter, extending deadlines, and grading what students should have done weeks ago. I don't mind. I don't think I'm doing my students a disservice because in "the real world" you get an extension almost every time you ask for it (and is their world not real till they graduate?).

But goodness, I wish I had fewer things to grade. 

How can people say class size doesn't matter? I love to go to their games, call them in the evenings to chat about behavior issues, and learn who they are outside of the classroom. Those are some of my favorite parts of my job. But I can't do those things all day every day for over one hundred people. I cannot.

I could do it for fifty. I definitely did it for fifty kids last year. Maybe if I taught only one class I could see that adding more students into the physical space wouldn't matter as much (although the fire marshal might have something to say about that at this point). But I cannot understand how I can do the things that need doing or would be nice to do for my students and have a life at the rate I'm going now. Smaller class sizes would equal smaller caseloads for teachers which would in turn lead to more and more meaningful behavioral and academic interventions. How is the class size doesn't matter canard surviving? And why aren't we talking about the issue in terms of caseload rather than bodies in a room?

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