We are spending $30 billion a year to reduce class sizes, but a bad teacher with 30 kids is still a bad teacher with 16 kids. We should use those funds to increase salaries; great teachers can handle 30 students.
— Ron Clark (@mrronclark_) April 2, 2018
To which I responded:
OMG Great teachers can handle 30 kids? Why would we just want to “handle” them? We want to provide an environment where learning takes place. Where there is enough space to walk. Where a teacher can meet the needs of all our students. #smh #classsizematters
— Lisa M. (@BriteEyes49) April 2, 2018
I think we can do both. If we can suddenly find money to arm teachers, I think we can raise teacher salaries AND reduce class sizes. I would also like to know where that $30 billion is being spent.
Define “bad teacher.” Is it a teacher having a hard time with classroom management with 30 kids? “Great” teachers can “handle” 30 students. But what “great” teacher wants to? What “great” teacher wouldn’t want a smaller class size? One year I had 20 kids and I felt like I was in Teacher heaven!
Classroom teachers see things so much differently. I mean actual teachers who work with children in a classroom.
Here are some reasons why class size matter:
- Physical space: You know those classrooms you see in magazines? They are huge and have corners, spaces, nooks, and lots and lots of room. My classroom is a rectangular box with 27 5th grade bodies. Someone came in my room one day and said it was an obstacle course. I can’t imagine what it is like for middle and high school teachers.
- Behavior Problems: Those kids who should never,ever, be in the same class under any circumstances? Well, guess what? They are in the same class because there are 30 kids in them, and there is nowhere else to put them.
- Differentiated Instruction: Our students learn at different paces and places. You have advanced, average, and struggling. As an educator, I try to meet all their needs so that they feel successful. Which class size would make it more viable for me to meet them? 20 or 30? 10 less students that I would have to give my attention to.
- Personalized Learning: This kind of goes along with differentiated instruction. I do not believe personalized learning is sitting a student in front of a computer with an adaptive program all day. Therefore, it is my job to personalize learning for my students. Again, would I instead do this with 20 students or 30?
- An educator’s time: This applies to any and everything I have to do in my classroom that involves my students. Have you ever tried to have productive Writing Conferences with 30 students? Set up Student-led conferences for 30 students? Report cards for 30 students? Should I go on? Grade papers for 30 students?
- Parents: If a parent were able to choose where their child could attend school, which school do you think they would choose? The school where the student: teacher ratio is 15:1 or 30:1? Now think about why they made that choice. Unfortunately, the majority of public school parents aren’t given that option.
Fortunately, I am an educator who can educate 20, 27, or 30 students. And maybe that’s the problem. It can be done, and therefore it is. And if you can’t, you are labeled.
Class size matters. The problem is that, sadly, it matters most to the educator in the classroom.
Originally posted on “Diary of a Public School Teacher!“