165 to 1

I’ve been quiet lately.  There are things I very much want to say, but I have to wait, because of reasons.

One good thing that I can talk about is my student teacher.  She’s my first student teacher; I’ve never mentored anyone through this process before.  She started with me last Tuesday, and having another adult in the classroom for just one week has made me painfully aware that two adults in a 30-kid classroom should be the norm.  The 1-30 ratio is just nuts.  JUST NUTS.  I handle it, and I think I handle it pretty well, but the thing is, when there are that many of them and just one of me, I can’t get to every kid, every day, in the individual, specific ways that kids crave and respond best to.   They want to be called by name, asked about their lives, acknowledged as real people, not just told to spit their gum and take off their hats and do the assignment.  I try so hard to treat all 165 (yes, that many) of my students as unique people every day, but come on.  I’m just a human. 

But with TWO teachers in the room?

Oh, it’s magic.  It’s just magic.  I can move around the room more slowly, more deliberately.  I can be in two places at once.  There can be one adult handling administrative tasks, and one adult conversing with kids about what they understand about the lesson.  I can direct the actors in the show, and she can direct the tech team, and everyone can get equal attention and feel equally involved in the process – it’s a dream.  It really is.  And the kids are freaking loving it.  It took them less than two minutes to warm up to my student teacher and to start going to her with their questions and problems.  They’re hungry for grown-ups to care about them and help them.

I think I’ll cry when my student teacher is finished and it goes back to being just me in there, because now it’s been thrown into sharp relief for me that class sizes really are too large for truly meaningful, personalized instruction (and believe me, most teachers do try to provide it, we drive ourselves half crazy trying to provide it – don’t let the media fool you into thinking we’re a bunch of lazy jerks hiding behind a union – that’s pure propaganda, and it’s infuriating).  There are too many kids, too few teachers, our hands are tied in too many ways…

But enough of this for tonight.  Time to count the blessings.  Line up, little blessings!

Happy am I to have a job.  Happy am I to have another adult in my classroom, and happy am I that she is capable and reasonable and treats the kids with kindness.  Happy am I to have a beautiful, healthy family.  Happy am I that I started reading Graceling and am really enjoying it, (plus I cracked The Curiosities the other day and absolutely LOVED that first vampire story – can’t wait to keep going, but somebody borrowed it – argh).  Happy am I to have a lovely cup of lemon tea with honey.   Happy am I that my husband cleaned the cat puke off the carpet so that I didn’t have to do it. 

Go, little blessings!  Off to bed with you.  Nighty night.


1 Comment

  1. I’ve had the same experience with my student-teacher! She’s awesome, the extra help is awesome, and it’s so great to hear my students going to her for help – it shows me that they trust her & believe in her. I was so worried they wouldn’t warm-up to her, but they have and it’s been great. I wish I could team-teach with another adult all year long.

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