My school recently created a new section of English, to help reduce the overload in two of my courses. About five or six students were transferred out of each of those two blocks to form a new class for another teacher.

At first, I wasn’t sure if it would make any difference since those two blocks are still sitting at about 24 or 25 students.

When I’ve taught English in the past, the classes have always been at the max (both in terms of numbers and designated students). To make sure no one fell through the cracks, I would usually collect piles of student work so that I could go through the writing outside of class time to see who was keeping up and who needed more help, since there usually isn’t a chance during class for one-on-one time.

This is what I’ve noticed, now that a couple of my classes have five or six fewer students:

  • the room is actually quieter and more students are working during class when that time is available
  • there is space to move around
  • students who haven’t been speaking-up are now raising their hands
  • fewer students are coming to me with anxiety regarding oral presentations
  • it feels like we are able to discuss more during class (because there is less unrelated chatting and distracted behaviours)
  • I’ve been able to walk around and check-in with every student during writing time
  • I’m beginning to have time to follow-up with individual students
I don’t know if the last week has just been an anomaly…I’ll see how this week goes.
Of course, there are still students who aren’t self-regulated 100% of the time, but overall, the atmosphere has changed, with just the reduction of a few students.
It’s interesting how a few bodies in [and out of] a room can change the entire energy of a class.