I just met with a 1st grade teacher who has thirty-one adorable little ones in her room. Thirty-one is a bunch in Texas! The state says there should be no more than twenty-two children in classrooms of Kindergarten through 4th grade. Sometimes, we put more kids in a classroom when we cannot find the right teacher. Luckily, the teacher I met with today is the right teacher for this classroom!
Thirty-one kids have not changed her desire to meet their needs. Thirty-one little humans has not diminished her willingness to extend her own learning and become a better teacher. Some teachers may downshift a bit and simply strive to survive. The brightness of this teacher shines brightly! She thrives!
Her work this year is absolutely not easy. She has already made several major adjustments to the routines that have worked for her in previous years. I asked her if she had been able to shift more responsibility to her students with so many of them. Through a big grin, she said, "Oh, yes!"
In the past, she would welcome kids into her room and take their daily folders from them and put them in order. With thirty-one, she now focuses her energy on the classroom environment and has student helpers put those folders in order! I do believe the new process is good for those little student leaders too!
Thirty-one kids has not slowed her desire to learn! She had to find a way to ensure her students learned the first grade sight words. Even before she received her class roster, she wanted to improve this part of her language arts instruction. Some teachers may have seen thirty-one names and decided to do what has always been done in the past because it was familiar. Not her! Even with thirty-one, she designed a better way to personalize their sight word development! I cannot wait to watch her efforts!
She is also working to design guided math groups this year. Some teachers would have seen thirty-one and headed the other direction towards more whole-class instruction. Not her! She has already noticed that she can really provide more targeted instruction with small group instruction! I encouraged her to have fun with this effort and to bravely try new things!
Thirty one kids would scare a lot of teachers into survival mode. Not in this classroom! I know thirty-one students who are in good hands!