Saturday, August 04, 2007

Another Year Ahead

It is now the end of the first week of school. I had a class of 20 students until two moved away. Now I have a class of 18 - PERFECT! Unfortunately that will not last very long. We will proabably have to re-organize the school since some other grades' numbers are too high. I may need to become a split grade 2/3 one the dust settles.

It all comes down to the government mandate that primary classes not be any larger than 20 students. There is debate in the research about this issue - are smaller class sizes really better? Some say yes since the less teacher stress means for happier students and more time for class programming. Some say no since it all comes down to good teaching, regardless of size.

I can see both sides of the issue. I know that when I have had the rare smaller class size I have felt calmer and less overwhelmed by the marking. In today's educational climate more and more has been asked of the classroom teacher. We are secretaries, moms, nurses, social workers and so on, not just teachers (although the best teachers throughout time have always taken on these additional roles). More and more is also being added (dumped) into the curriculum, as if time at school will solve all of society's problems. Children need to know about sexual abuse so let's add it to the curriculum. Then there's anit-racism education, daily physical activity (DPA), computers, and so on and so on. It is all worthwhile programming but there is only so much time in the day. Effective teachers do not just program. They assess, program, reassess, reprogram and so on. All of this means quality time in order to do it well and honour the creativity, different learning styles and multiple intelligences of children. It all comes down to TIME and we never have enough of it.

On the other side of the argument in the calssroom over the years in which there were more children there was fabulous learning happening and a vibrant energy. I have ocassionally heard from some of those children who remember the classroom experience with fondness. I would like to think that I had somehting to do with it.

The long and short of it - I am carrying on with teaching a straight grade until I hear differently. There is never a dull moment in education. There is always something new or different happening.