Class Size Matters

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mr.Literature, Aug 6, 2017.

?

My class sizes are usually

  1. 5-10

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. 11-15

    1 vote(s)
    4.0%
  3. 16-20

    4 vote(s)
    16.0%
  4. 21-25

    7 vote(s)
    28.0%
  5. 26-30

    8 vote(s)
    32.0%
  6. 30+

    5 vote(s)
    20.0%
  1. Mr.Literature

    Mr.Literature Companion

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    I am going to be teaching high school this year after years teaching 8th grade. I'm excited for the transition, however, my possible class sizes are worrisome. This past year my numbers were close to 30. This is problematic on many levels, and to top it off, I work at a Title 1 school. The students I taught last year were predominantly level 1's on their FSA, and I had plenty of unidentified ESE students that nobody wanted to test because they were in 8th grade and according to the head of ESE, "Testing them at this point would be a waste of time."
    Because my kids weren't identified as ESE, I get no assistance for them. It's just me with close to 30 kids. Despite this, my gains are great and I had fantastic recommendations from both my P and AP. It is so incredibly frustrating walking into my new classroom and seeing 32 desks and chairs. I will be teaching intensive again, and I will most likely receive a lot of the ELL students. I love my kids. I love them more than anything and that's why I won't quit and that's why I got a job at the high school all of my middle school kids end up going to. However, I wonder what their gains would be if I could have half those numbers. Imagine how different everything could be.

    What do you guys to do cope with ridiculous class size numbers?
     
  2.  
  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    In the last 15 years, the smallest class I've had was 24 and the largest (last year) was 32. Generally, I'm sitting around 27 or 28.
     
  4. socalenglish

    socalenglish Rookie

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    This is what I have done with large classes and with classes where I have struggling students:
    1. I usually have some kind of whole class discussion and/or direct teaching.
    2. Then I put students in cooperative groups for practice, discussio , etc. Using cooperative groups ( there is quite a lot on the internet on this. I use Kagan strategies a lot.) is something that you have to train students on. I like this because I can me moving around the classroom checking work, etc and I only have to deal with 4 or so students at a time instead of 30. Even with smaller classes I have found that working in groups works is an effective strategy. If your classroom is on the small side consider having students collaborate with Googledocs or similar platforms.
    3. I always use multiple versions of fomal assessments.
    Hope this helps!
     
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  5. Mr.Literature

    Mr.Literature Companion

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    I already have my tables in groups of 4! :) I love cooperative work and that usually how I structure my lessons. Keeping direct instruction to a minimum and then having them actually practice whatever standard we are on. I'm constantly walking and moving from group to group.

    I have never used google docs. Using online stuff tends to be harder with my kids because such few of them have access to computers at home, and I don't even have student computers in my room this year, which was a huge shock. But this is honestly great advice! It's good to hear positive suggestions :)
     
  6. TXSPEDteacher

    TXSPEDteacher Rookie

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    I've taught high school for 9 years and my class sizes ranged from 25-35.
     
  7. Mr.Literature

    Mr.Literature Companion

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    I don't understand how anyone can justify having 25+ students in a class
     
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  8. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    You are placed in a bind when politicians and administrators don't care, but you continue to do so.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    I had 32 kids in my own 2nd grade class a long, long time ago.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm elementary. Class size typically 21-22. Completely manageable.
     
  11. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    High school seniors. I have 38 in most classes, though a couple of times I've had 42. By contract we can have one section over the 38 cap. It's a challenge, even in my affluent suburban district.
     
  12. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I had 32 last year and my list has 32 this year, though I can have up to 34. I'm at a title 1 school, as well. 1/4 of my students are ELs.

    I love Kagan. Those structures are a total lifesaver in a large class. They are especially fantastic for ELs because of all the constant partner and group talking. The whole ask a question and call on some kids routine would be a disaster in such a large class.

    With a large class, I have to be very purposeful with our time. And we have to get our transitions very tight. I'm going to be spending 3 weeks setting up the components of our workshop times in Daily 5 style. Practice makes perfect. I find letting things, even little things like slow transitions, slide with a large class is much worse because it becomes a domino effect and we can't get things done.

    I do a lot of small groups in math and ELA. I have to have 6 ELA groups so they're 6 or less. It means I'm meeting with the higher groups less and giving them more independent work. It's just how it is.

    I like to confer with my kids for reading. This year, I'm planning to use the first 15 min of the day. With 3 conferences per day, I can get through everyone about every 2 weeks. Again, not ideal, but I make it work with what I have.

    I cannot stand the whole "crowd control" sentiment. Would I be able to get a lot more done and meet a lot more needs with less kids? Of course! It especially drives me nuts when I see tiny fifth grade classes in high income, homogenous areas (online, not in my state unless it's a private school!) and think about how easy that must be and how much my kids could benefit from more of my attention. But I can't dwell on that. I just have to do the best I can and keep pressing forward and maintain positivity. And honestly, probably give up some lunches and recesses to relationship building in smaller bunches of kids.

    I do feel very fortunate because my district is reducing class size one grade at a time. Third grade is this year. In two years, it'll hit my grade level, and I'll be down to 26/27 (26.5 average k-5 is the eventual goal.) I can't even imagine what that will be like. This is my fourth year in 5th, and the smallest class I've had was 28, which felt totally manageable to me.

    I love your perspective and all in attitude. You and I both know we can't change what we're given this year, so we just sigh as we try to make a room arrangement that works with so many desks, grumble for a bit as we try to plan for all those kids and all those needs...and then we press on. Good luck to you. :)
     
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  13. SageScience

    SageScience Companion

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    A friend of mine went to go interview for a job in AZ at a "highly regarded" school. They said she would have 43 students in one class. Forty friggin three.
     
  14. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Habitué

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    I guess I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I'll have about 85 students spread over 6 classes.
     
  15. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Rookie

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    I got my rosters. I teach HS math. My class sizes this year are 13, 19, 21, 23, and 30. And it's all the same course!!! So lots of variability there. 21-23 is the average.
     
  16. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Rookie

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    I looked at my class lists and they average about 25 per class. Sadly, I usually have two big 28-30 classes and then one or two small 18-19 size groups. Of course the big ones are the inclusion classes, so I have another teacher pushing in every other day. Our classrooms are too small for those numbers. Throw in one or two teacher's aide for sped students and we are on top of each other. Plus, our counselors always seem to add new students to the biggest classes.

    Honestly, 30 is too many for me. The small space doesn't help. I have had coworkers who have had 32. I couldn't deal with 43. I remember subbing in band and music classes with that number and thinking, "Get me out of here!"
     
  17. Fun_Teacher

    Fun_Teacher Rookie

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    I actually have 12 students this year.
    With that said, for my first year of teaching, I had around 35. (It was an intervention math class, but still......that is a lot. No support staff was present in the classroom.) Fortunately, my Math 7 and Math 8 classes had around 16 students in the class. My math reinforcement class only had 7 students.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    At my previous school, 40+ students in a class was normal. Teachers were very, very lucky if they had fewer than 30. I almost always had classes of 45 or more. A few times I had classes of over 50 students. Urban school, Title I, lots of ELL.

    I am no longer at that school.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  19. SageScience

    SageScience Companion

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    I'm surprised that this isn't illegal. I could be wrong but I thought in each state, there exists some mandate saying that class sizes had to be below a certain amount (capped). Is there one in NV?
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    No caps for secondary classes as far as I know. The fire marshal might care about class sizes, but no one in the school or district seems to.
     
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  21. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Habitué

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    40-50?? That is insane!!
     

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