Size Matters: Would you take a bigger class for money?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tyler B., Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Bill Gates thinks "good" teachers should take more students in exchange for more money. His thinking goes that "bad" teachers would have fewer students and good teachers would have more.

    Would you be able to teach just as well with two or three more students? Would you do this for an extra $600 a month?

    Would you want your child in a class with a "good" teacher (I'm guessing as determined by test scores.), but more students?

    Here's an article about it:
    http://www.good.is/post/can-we-improve-education-by-increasing-class-size/



    _______________________________________________
    favorite blogs: http://ed-is-life.blogspot.com/ and http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/
     
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  3. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I honestly think I would be fine with 2-3 more students because I don't have many behavior problems and my classes are only about 25 students each now. I don't think I'd be any less effective of a teacher, except that I might take an extra day to get tests back. My class is basically me, standing at the board, doing example problems with them.
    However, in high school, I had a french class that was only 12 students. It was easily my favorite class! The atmosphere of a small class is wonderful. I used to be very shy, but I participated a lot in that class. I think small classes are helpful for some students. But I don't think having 3 more students would change the instruction I provide.
    I would do it for an extra $600 a month. But this would be expensive for school districts because 2-3 kids isn't that many.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Two or 3?? For $600???

    Sure, if they could fit the seats in the room. I'm currently maxed out at 42. But I've taught classes of 45 before.
     
  5. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    I prefer classes of 28 or smaller since I teach science with labs. I feel comfortable supervising 7 groups of 4 during a lab - I can monitor them closely enough that everyone is safe, and I can get around to answer all of their questions. I have taught classes up to 36 before, and the labs just weren't as manageable. The students didn't learn as much, and sometimes I couldn't prevent accidents. So no, I wouldn't take extra money to increase my class sizes because of safety issues. I would take on an extra period in the day, though.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    It depends on where that would put me number wise. I think that's a huge and unrealistic dollar amount for two or three kids, though.
     
  7. GTB4GT

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    To me, an extra $600 month (or $150/week before taxes) is not enough incentive. the pay would hardly be noticeable in terms of impacting my lifestyle. Smaller classes rule. I have one class of 6 students and it is an absolute joy to teach. this is just an opinion however and I am sure others feel differently.
     
  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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  9. bandnerdtx

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    My school operates on just the opposite philosophy. We keep our classes intentionally small, no more than 15 (and usually closer to 9), and it has made a WORLD of difference. I am able to to get to know each child's strengths and weakness, I can more easily offer assistance, I can manage discipline issues, and we can fill gaps in a way that I was never able to do when I taught classes of 30+. I have time to spend with every child EVERY day, and my kids are able to make leaps in their understanding. It's been invaluable to them.
     
  10. myKroom

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    I intentionally work in small rural districts and knowingly give up a much larger pay check to avoid large class sizes! So, I would say no, I wouldn't take more kids for a pay increase!
     
  11. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Sure. I've had 38 in a class before; I'm capped at 22. Bring on two or three more for that money per month.

    Unless it's my really low class. They need as much individual attention as they can get.
     
  12. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    I have classes of 40+ some very plus. I would be willing to take a cut in pay to get class sizes of 24. That's my dream number, not sure why. I would love love love smaller classes. And that's just not going to happen any time soon - my district is getting ready to cut more jobs. the students are cool enough to not give me a big hassle with so many of us crammed into the room but honestly I would love to do more than I am doing with them and it just isn't gonna happen with these numbers. It's the most depressing part of my job and I' currently pretty bummed out about it. grrrr.
     
  13. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    If I already had a big class, then 2-3 more certainly would not make enough of a difference to me, for an incentive I'd go for it. But since I teach special ed and tend to have very small classes, and for good reason, because each additional student comes with a whole package of issues, I would not go for this. I feel that in special ed there really is a point of diminishing returns when adding more students just gets in the way of teaching any of them.

    But in a general ed class of 20, I could see being bribed to take 22. What the hey.
     
  14. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    I could make about $5000 more if I moved to the big district in my area (I'm at a very tiny district on the edge of town).

    BUT, I'd have a good 10-15 more kids, no specials, and a whole lot more demands put on me by the district.

    No thanks, I'll stay where I am!
     
  15. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Tell Bill Gates to write a check to me! I have between 30-35 per class now and we're one of the worst paying districts in the five-county area. On top of which, I get all the discipline problem students!

    :eek:
     
  16. agdamity

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    I have had classes anywhere from 14 to 28 students (5th grade). The years I have smaller classes I am definitely able to better reach each child. Sometimes, even 3 students can make an impact. Once you get over 24, every extra body influences the ability to pull small groups and keep them small. I have great classroom managent, but time is a huge factor as well.
     
  17. Tasha

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    I honestly think in primary grades this would be a much bigger impact than in upper grades. For every 2-3 extra students in a primary class would negatively impact the education of all of my students. I teach primarily in a workshop or small group method and 2-3 more students means one more group and less time for everyone else.
     
  18. Mrs. K.

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    Our classes can already go up to 42, though they're supposedly capped at 38. I wish I got paid more for that big class, but it ain't gonna happen!
     
  19. mrachelle87

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    I have 15...my principal capped me there even though there are some that want to add kids to my class. I love the size. My kids were usually the students that felt left behind or unnoticed in kindergarten, so it is important for my kids to build a relationship with me and each other. I think my class would loose its power with more kids.
     
  20. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Me too. I moved 2000 miles to work in a small rural, title 1 school. I left a high performing, huge class sizes (Utah) for the rural school. I wouldn't take on another 35-46 kid classroom again for all the money Bill Gates has. Seriously. I've found my niche and my "bliss."
     
  21. MissCeliaB

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    It depends. I have a very small size in the core class I teach, and like it that way. For my elective, I would maybe take them up on it because of the content of the course. It would only be an issue for grading.
     
  22. peachacid

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    In my experience, larger classes can function when the kids are calm and quiet, and don't need a lot of help mastering the material. This is especially true when students are in high school; they could have some lecture-type classes a la college. A class of 42 students would work fine in some schools. However, in schools where the majority of the students need extra help, AND have behavioral problems, a class of even 25 students is too many.

    One of the problems with education right now is that different populations of students have drastically different needs. Urban kids who are economically disadvantaged need smaller classes and more attention so they can catch up academically to their more well-off peers. Kids who do well in school and go to "good" schools need to be further challenged in order to meet the changing needs of our society.
     
  23. TeachOn

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    I would not. Smaller classes are better, whatever Bill Gates or any other datamongering doofus may say.
     
  24. peachacid

    peachacid Companion

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    In the article, they make a good point that private schools tout their small class sizes as one of the most positive aspects of the school. I will never, ever, ever understand why so many people in this country care so little about our students' education. It should be the NUMBER ONE priority -- better educated people means better decision makers...
     
  25. webmistress

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    More money for more students? That sounds so cheap and wrong. As if students are not already dehumanized enough by being test scores and other useless labels, now kids will come with a dollar sign attached to them$$$
     
  26. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    I have what some would call a ridiculously small class.

    However, they are all kids with special needs and they all are very needy.

    If I had one more kid in my class, it would take away attention from the others. It would be such a bad idea.
     
  27. 2ndTimeAround

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    I would gladly do it. If I had an auditorium, I'd teach a class of 100 students. As long as they were honors students. For my general classes, which are predominantly below-level, adding two or three students would make a huge negative impact. Generally these class sizes are at 75% of the honors counterparts. It wouldn't be fair for a teacher to have all the challenges that these needier students present and get paid less than the teacher next door that has a much easier job.
     
  28. Speechy

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    I wouldn't. I'm definitely not that hard up for cash. This year I have a decent caseload, and I couldn't imagine taking on more.
     
  29. Speechy

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    This.
     
  30. DrivingPigeon

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    Heck no! I have taught in classrooms with 15 or 16 students (during student teaching...not my own classroom), and it was absolutely amazing! Less grading, less paperwork, less IEP's, less conferences would all make my life much less stressful.
     
  31. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Our social studies department head teaches 3 AP Psychology classes. Each class has about 55 students in it, mainly due to the budget and the fact that it hasn't been a problem so far.
    Our students do amazingly well on the AP exam. However, she talks about how she is unable to do a lot of things that she would be able to do if she had a smaller class.
    But I just can't imagine grading all those tests and essays.
     
  32. EMonkey

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    Well, I guess my school can be called a test site (without the extra pay of course)! The classes have gone from 20 in the lower grades to about 25-30. I would say there is no "bad" teacher at the school. Some may be better than others; but no one who would be labeled as bad or incompetent. The teachers are finding the tracking and organizing much more challenging this year. So even if over the long term we get acclimated to the larger count for a couple years every lower grade classroom has had a lowering of quality to some extent because of the planning and organizational changes required by upping class size by up to fifty percent.
     
  33. jwteacher

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    Honestly, I do feel like my students are hurting when I have too many because I don't have that opportunity to talk with them one-on-one like I do with a smaller class size. When I had a class size of 18 or 19, I could have conversations with them everyday which really helped build a strong rapport. This year, however, with 27 students I'm lucky to talk to each student twice a week because the work load is so much greater.
     
  34. lovebeingteach

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    GRRRRR!!!! This gets my blood boiling!!!!! Let us let Bill Gates try teaching just 10 students for one year, and then let us permit him to start making the rules about education. I have worked in other fields, and let me tell you that teaching IS the hardest thing I have ever done.

    Bill Gates needs to keep working on computers. Leave the teaching up to us. The old county I worked in implemented his "smaller learning communities school idea." They got a HUGE Grant to do this. They have 4 separate schools. There are 3 schools that are each fixated on a certain thing. For example, one is "The School of Health and Life Sciences." They also still have the regular old high school. Each of the 3 "elite" schools has an admission process. Guess what?????????? The 3 "elite" schools do not accept anyone who they think can't pass the state tests. One of the schools has 3 kids with IEP's. Then everyone applauds them when they score well on the tests. It makes me sick and it should be illegal.
     
  35. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I appreciate that Bill Gates is trying to help. I don't always agree with his ideas, but at least he's willing to put them out there. Obviously something is wrong with the state of education these days. I don't think we're in any position to criticize anyone who is sincerely offering forth ideas and help.
     
  36. Tyler B.

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    I think Gates can not view teaching as something different from selling something. We teachers ache when our students suffer and rejoice when our students bloom.

    Gates is over his head when it comes to understanding education.



    _______________________________________________
    favorite blogs: http://ed-is-life.blogspot.com/ and http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/
     
  37. GTB4GT

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    I am sure everyone has an opinion on...

    how to "fix" things. I'm also sure Bill Gates is a bright and talented individual. With that being said, wouldn't the answers come from (the best and brightest) people within the system who have first hand experience with the realities? Part of the problem in "fixing" any of problems is there are far too many voices and differences of opinion.
    at the end of the day, when everything is said and done, far more has been said than done usually.
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    When the best and the brightest people in the system start stepping up and making their voices heard, maybe we can implement their ideas. Right now it seems that too many of the best and the brightest are doing more complaining than fixing.
     
  39. MissCeliaB

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    I've found that often the best and brightest have no power to make the changes they know would work. They are too busy running off required worksheets for required standardized test prep, and following every other mandate that comes down the pipeline because someone got some money to go to some conference and heard some new buzzword.
     
  40. blazer

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    In the UK this is already happening (but without the money),

    We set according to ability. Bottom sets will have fewer students. I have a bottom year 8 set (7th grade in your measurment) which has 10 students in it. I have a top set year 10 (9th grade) with 31 students in it. Given the room (our classrooms are overcrowded with 30 students) you could fit a few more higher ability kids in but at the lower end you need a lower ratio to give the kids the attention they need. A good teacher with too many kids will still struggle!
     
  41. peachacid

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    "We set according to ability. Bottom sets will have fewer students. I have a bottom year 8 set (7th grade in your measurment) which has 10 students in it. I have a top set year 10 (9th grade) with 31 students in it. Given the room (our classrooms are overcrowded with 30 students) you could fit a few more higher ability kids in but at the lower end you need a lower ratio to give the kids the attention they need. A good teacher with too many kids will still struggle!" I think this idea would work well in high schools in America. For kids who don't need a lot of teacher support to understand material, a larger class will not negatively impact them. For students who do need more teacher support, they'd have it.
     

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