ZeroSum Ruler (home)

Blogging on math education and other related things

Small Schools, SUPERSIZED Classrooms: Thanks a bunch, Bill GatesSeptember 3, 2010

School for Boston Public School teachers starts on Tuesday.  The kids come back Wednesday.  Three chairs at a table, eight tables, I have 24 seats in my classroom.  The class size limit in Boston is 31 per class.  -

37 students + 24 seats = success.  Solve for HOW.

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So that I could get an idea of who I’ll be seeing on a daily basis and when, since I had many of the students I’ll have this year two years ago when they were 9th graders, I went onto mybps.com to download my class lists.  This will be the first year that all students get electives after four years of none (Thanks again, Bill Gates.  My students thank you too for the opportunity to go to a small school where they get to know each other so well that they fight like siblings and miss out on things like art, music, and… computer classes.  But to have computer classes would mean we’d need computers, so thanks for dropping the ball on that one, too.  “Good looks” as my kids would say, only I say it to you sarcastically, you mad scientist, you!)

side: What’s the difference between a real scientist and a computer scientist?  Real scientists can admit when they’re wrong and try, try, try again until they get it right.   You can’t Ctrl/Alt/Delete this one, Bill.

Anyway, so I downloaded my class lists and I see the following:

Math elective, period 3:            37 students

Algebra 2, period 4:                33 students

Algebra 2, period 5:                25 students

Algebra 2, period 6:                24 students

By my schedule, you can see I’m a math teacher.  As hard as calculus was, I got through it.  I even got through a java programming class that sucked 15 pounds out of my body.  But I just can’t seem to do the following problem:

37 students + 24 seats = success.  Solve for HOW.

I appreciate any and all suggestions on how to pull this one off.  These are the kinds of things people forget about us teachers.  We “get summers off”, we “only work 6 hours a day”, we “have tons of vacations”, we are “failing our kids”.  But no one ever comments on how we’re sometimes set up to fail before we even begin.

I’m scared for Wednesday, not because I don’t think I can teach 37 kids at a time but because I don’t know how to choose who gets a seat and who sits on the floor.