So all summer I took a break from reading blogs. (Instead I did a lot of reading about cognitive development in infancy and early childhood, which is absolutely fascinating.) And so, with these last couple of weeks, I’ve been catching up on the huge backlog in my Reader account.
In addition to that, it’s the beginning of the school year, so people are posting about their new classes and mentioning class sizes. Like a “giant class of 19” or an “enormous class of 26”. I want to be absolutely clear that I’m not picking on anyone here– circumstances and expectations vary, and if your largest class last year was 14, then I know that 19 must seem huge, but my god, I am so jealous.
I have 47 students in my class. (Although one of them said that he was planning on dropping, since he didn’t feel like he understood the prerequisite material at all– I may get down to 46. Yup.) I should also mention that the furniture in this classroom (and in almost all of the rooms “owned” by the math department) is meant for no more than 40. So they shove a bunch of those little onesie desks at the back of the rooms, many of which are broken.
Do you know how awesome it would be to have reasonable class sizes? What I could do with a class of 24? Or 30? 19 students would be a dream come true.
Last fall, I taught 5 classes of 48 (which is the fire marshal limit for the classrooms my classes were held in). Only one of the classes dropped significantly in size during the course of the semester, which I think had more to do with the time of day than anything I did. And yes, if I could figure out how to get students to drop my class, I probably would. I’ll be able to care about student retention again when they start giving me reasonably-sized classes again.
There’s no real point to this post. Last year, I was actively looking for strategies to deal with larger classes. Now I think I’ve resigned myself to the idea that classes this size mean that I can’t teach the way that I want to. So I do my best, and muddle through.
Can’t help being jealous though.