Today I was at a school where the classrooms have at least 25+ students. There is no extra room in the school, and some classes could benefit from being single grades instead of a two grades in one room. The students are learning and the teachers are teaching; but are the teachers really teaching? This is a school where parents have high expectations on their children’s learning and the on the teachers as well.
After school, I went to talk with a friend of mine, who is teaching a split level class. We had a good discussion. Her class has 27 students, with students with varying reading, writing, and general skills. Some days, and I can relate to when I was in my internship experience, we both agreed that there are moments when it feels like we as teachers are managing more than we are teaching.
There have been recent curriculum upgrades (a few years ago now), an expectation of technology to be present in classrooms, standardized tests, new report cards and grading standards this year, and a mix of other things teachers are dealing with. Some students require more time and energy and that is okay, but it does take away from the other students. Or, we teach a lesson and then often miss seeing the progress certain students are making, because we are offering supports to those who need it, and letting those who don’t work independently.
There are moments when I agree, even though we are teaching, it does feel as if we are managing..