Although I am a retired teacher, the need for smaller class sizes brings back many memories. In those days, my district was growing quickly and many new schools were being built. Some schools even had to transform their gyms into classrooms to accommodate all the kids.
I taught third grade early in my career and my classes were bursting with kids. One day, the school secretary brought a new student to my class. I didn’t want the young lady to think she was unwelcome, but I know my facial expression probably gave away that there just wasn’t room in my classroom for her. In the entire school, there was not a single empty desk that could be brought to our room for her to use. No child should ever be made to feel like there’s not a place for them at school, but that is one of the real impacts of large class sizes.
Most of my career was spent teaching junior-high. At this level, class sizes make a difference. I had remedial classes as well as regular and honors classes in reading and English. Students in the remedial classes truly benefited from smaller class sizes because they received more interaction with me. However, in the larger, regular English classes, I had much less time to provide individual attention to students on writing and communication skills. If I’d had smaller classes, I could have spent less time on discipline and more time on student engagement.
Sadly, since I retired over fifteen years ago, large class sizes have become an even more urgent problem. It is vital for the future of our children that the legislature finally tackles this issue.
Lee Ann Prielipp