INT. ART ROOM – AFTER LUNCH
(Ms. ATHG, 4th Grade students-green group, 4th Grade students A, B, C & D, Mr. PE)
MS. ATHG IS STANDING AT THE FRONT OF THE ROOM. 4TH GRADE STUDENTS- GREEN GROUP ARE SEATED AT TABLES, LOOKING AT MS. ATHG.
(TO STUDENTS) Good afternoon, 4th grade artists! Welcome to art! Wow, the green group is pretty big this year, huh? Well, with this many students… how many of you are there again? [TAKES A HEAD COUNT OF STUDENTS] Wow, 28, okay, yeah, with this many students…
4TH GRADE STUDENTS A & B ENTER THE ROOM.
(TO STUDENTS A & B) Oh, hey, are you part of the green group too? Okay, well, there are a couple of chairs left, just take a seat. (TO STUDENT GROUP) So, okay, 30 students then. With this many students…
4TH GRADE STUDENT C ENTERS THE ROOM.
(TO STUDENT C) Oh, okay, one more, well… [LOOKS AROUND ROOM. PULLS TEACHER CHAIR OUT] Here, you can sit here for now. (TO STUDENT GROUP) So, as I was saying, things are going to be a little tight this year, but I know we can make it work. I’m very excited to be in this new space, and…
MR. PE OPENS DOOR, POPS HEAD IN AS STUDENT D ENTERS ROOM
(TO MS. ATHG) Um, I think this one belongs to you. Sorry. [EXITS ROOM, SHEEPISHLY]
(TO SELF. WHILE LOOKING AROUND CLASSROOM) I’m gonna need a bigger boat.
I’m a few weeks into the new school year, and while I’m thrilled my schedule has a little wiggle room in it this year, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the high number of students in my classes. I follow many of you on various different social media sites, and I’m envious of some of your photos, showing what I can only assume is a respectable class size of 17 or 18 students. When I was teaching in NY, 22 students in one class was a large class. Now, teaching where I do, 25 or 26 students is considered a small class. Block scheduling is popular down here. It’s no big deal to take the six classes that make up the 4th grade and divide them into four color groups for specials. 32 is too many for a general classroom teacher to have, but hey, it’s a-okay for specials. Yeah, right. It’s common practice to place all the IEP students in one classroom, presumably to make it easier to provide them with services. I get that, but this means that you’re sending specialists a class loaded with 10 IEP students. The classroom teacher never has all of these students in her classroom at one time, yet we’re expected to easily work with this highly needy group. A Kindergarten teacher has an aide to assist with the needs of a group of 26 brand-new students. This aide never makes it into our classroom.
But, hey, yeah, cool, I got this. I can totally provide meaningful instruction with exciting lessons and engaging projects to a group of 32 students. I can totally manage teaching and assisting the making of 32 coil pots in one session. Printmaking? Wire sculptures? Painting and weaving and stitching and cutting and gluing and sculpting? I got this. No problem.