This year I have had the opportunity to teach summer school. It’s 15 intense days, and we’re now in the home stretch – only two days left next week.
Today, I had a student tell me he didn’t want summer school to end. Well of course I had to ask him why. How many children do you know that want to be in school – especially during the summer! He went on to explain that he really enjoys the small class size. He told me he does better in a smaller class and gets less distracted. He even told me that when he was in lower elementary grades, he was in a smaller class to help him focus better.
This got me thinking about class sizes – which are always such a hot topic. My state has a class size limit of 28 students in regular education classrooms. However, with economic strains, we may soon be able to have additional students in a class. For me, every additional child in the classroom totally changes the class dynamic. For instance, this past year I had a class of 24 students and classes of 28. Both classrooms ran so much differently. I found we could get more accomplished in the smaller class – and we’re only talking about a difference of four children!
What really struck me today, though, is that the students crave smaller classes even more than teachers do. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had the resources to support smaller classes! I honestly do not know what the solution is, but it definitely makes me think.
This year, all of the science teachers at my school will have two classrooms that are side by side and linked by a door. One will be used as a classroom space with desks and chairs and one as a lab with lab tables and chairs. Having this extra space opens up so many possibilities – not just for lab space but for many activities. I am thinking I can have groups in both rooms spread out and working on projects. I can remediate with a group in one room and extend with a group in the other. Plus, when we have projects requiring lots of space, we will have all we need to spread out and get things completed. I am really looking forward to this, and I’ll keep you updated with how it all goes.