Anyone who says that size does not matter is not a classroom teacher. The notion is pure and total BS!!
And when I hear stories of how middle school class sizes are now averaging 40 to 1 in San Francisco, I recognize in myself a raging anger at the indignity being suffered by a generation of kids.
With teachers serving as the punching bag all along the way.
It’s a humiliating affront to parents, educators and kids that middle schools in one of the planet’s wealthiest nations have ballooned to this level.
Ain’t no way to try and defend it, either. Instruction suffers when class sizes elevate to these levels. I know. I’ve been there.
You give out a simple assignment and you get a phone book worth of papers to grade.
You try to take a moment to work one-on-one with a kid and 15 other kids don’t get the same opportunity even though they need it as well.
Taking attendance consumes a quantifiable percentage of instructional time. Keeping up with kids who missed class becomes labyrinthian. Teaching the word labyrinthian becomes Herculean because the kids do not have the mythological background knowledge to understand the reference to either a labyrinth or to Hercules beyond a mere cartoon (as opposed to a Greek hero with actual labors).
Additionally, we all know that the L.A. Times is “outing” educators right now (in an effort to drive controversy and thus readership and thus ad sales to their sinking enterprise). But will class sizes show up.
Does a teacher with 22 students not have an instructional leg up on a teacher who has 39 in her class? Will any of the value-added rankings mitigate for that? Anyone who says it doesn’t matter has never stood in front of a sea of public school kids and tried to move their academic mountain.
BTW, I know all the tricks. I had to learn them. I learned how to cut corners on grading papers so that I didn’t need to get hauled off to the loony bin. I learned how to assign things like Daily Oral Language activities at the beginning of class so that I could take attendance while still making sure my students were being productive. There are scores of “little secrets” one learns.
Because when you teach in impacted classrooms, sometimes you are simply trying to survive and the idea of prospering feels Pollyannishly out of reach!
It’s just such a farce what is going on and though I don’t think I would homeschool my own kids, I do see a growing reason why it’s a very real, very legit consideration. Being a faceless number in an over-taxed teacher’s class is no recipe for scholastic excellence!!
But yet, we’ll still pay for the bubble tests. Millions and millions of dollars for them, flawed as they egregiously are.
The blood boils when I think of this stuff. Truly, we have reason for shame.