Thursday, September 9, 2010
First days of classes. . .
It is that time again. . . first day of classes. I felt like today was equivalent to one long workout. My students are wonderful but the classes are so large. Because of budget cuts throughout New York City, schools have suffered greatly when it comes to resources for books, hiring enough teachers for the number of students and in classroom supplies. Textbooks were not a problem for us as the principal was able to include the cost of books when he was appointed two years ago. However, the number of students allowed in a general education high school class is 34 maximum. One of my classes had 39 and another class had 36. It was such a tight fit that we had to acquire chairs from other classrooms!
Another issue that has arisen this year is the whole school bus thing. Our high school has a later end time, therefore the students on school buses should not be picked up before 4:00 pm. It is appalling that the bus arrived at 2:50 pm to pick up the students to take them home. They miss an entire hour of instruction. Bussing has also been affected by the budget cuts, so that you have elementary age students on a bus with high school students. This is ludicrous. The conversations and behaviors exhibited by teenagers may negatively affected the grade school students who are less experienced. In addition, they can be exposed to "things" that are inappropriate for their age level.
Despite all these negative aspects, I plan to have a wonderful year. I am the coordinator of an inclusion program, special education students who are fully participating in a general education curriculum. I want to move my students at least one grade level in their reading and math skills by January. I plan to have two seniors graduate with an advanced Regents diploma. I have one junior and one sophomore who are also bound for a Regents diploma. My freshman I do not know well yet, but I see promise in them. All in all, I plan for a good year!