Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Favorite Class (II)

Let me tell you about 8th period.

They're my favorite class.

Eighth period is scheduled differently at our school. Period 1-6 meet on a block schedule. 80 minutes twice a week and 45 minutes on Fridays. The last two classes, 7th and 8th periods, meet M-Th for 50 minutes and 45 minutes on Fridays. Do the math, and right away, you see that 8th period gets an advantage. I see them for 245 minutes per week, whereas I see my other classes for 205 minutes.

It may not seem like 40 minutes a week would make much difference. It does. Eighth period is the class that actually gets time in class to work on the homework. They get more time to ask questions. We cover less per day, but we cover it better. I'm not a huge fan of block scheduling, and I'm REALLY not a fan of the last 20 minutes in a block class.

Here's the real difference in this class, though.

Eighth period only has 14 students.

My other classes are in the 20-25 range and I know that's nothing to my colleagues who regularly see 30-36 in a class, but 14? That's practically private tutoring! We can have class discussions without resorting to "holding the speaking stick" and "lab groups" tend to be a little more free-form since there's more than enough equipment to go around.

This is teaching at its best. Time, space and resources in abundance.

And here's the kicker, for anyone who thinks these things don't matter.

EVERY student in 8th period is passing the class. I can't say that about any other class period.

Eighth period. That's my favorite class.

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