Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fill the Desks

At the beginning of the school year - just two weeks ago - I was unfazed by our class list of 51 sixth graders.  On one hand, it is not unlikely that the numbers will change.  But like any parent, teacher, or administrator, I hope the number goes down.  On another hand, 51 students in one class is not unlike my early experiences as a teacher in the Salt Lake City School District.

I taught a class called, "Teen Living," at Northwest Intermediate School and it topped out at 58.  FIFTY-EIGHT!  Students were sitting on the heater, six students shared one common table that really only had space for four people, and one student was actually assigned my desk chair.  I made it work, although I doubt those students remember anything they learned.  Still, picture all those bodies and little 'ol 26-year-old me, with a spill-over of 58 students in a room.

Just the boys while the girls are in a separate location for science.
Today, I feel unfazed by 51 students in a class because the model at Sherman Middle School makes it doable.  And not just doable, but pleasurable.  I am in the most fortunate position of teaching with two of the smartest, wisest, and strictest women these little sixth graders will probably ever encounter in their middle school tenure.  Perhaps another blog will go at this in more detail, but lets just say that "strict" and "traditional" is what makes this large class work for us.

I envision a year of hard work.  It is proving already to be challenging since just about every day I've been back in the workplace, the weather has been perfect for climbing.  I look out at the eager faces of 11 year olds and wonder how many are thinking of places they'd rather be, or what they'd be doing if they were not in school.  I don't really have that kind of mental space to set aside during the day, but I do know that when 2:37pm comes and the bell rings, all I can think of is either climbing or running.

From filled desks at 7:37am to empty ones at 2:37pm, I am feeling pretty good about this school year and hope the goodness translates to energy for climbing and running.

No comments:

Post a Comment