Saturday, September 24, 2011
Here is a picture of my current classroom. What you see is what you get. There is no more space behind the camera; that is it. This room, and every other classroom, in this school is about this size. Everyday I cram 3 different classes of 20 students in here. Forget behavior managements; I feel like at least 5 minutes of each class is spent on space management. Every activity creates a traffic jam. Each child at this school gets their own computer that they bring from class to class. The come to class with their giant folder, their computers, their books and there is simply not enough space for everything.
This is a private school, and not surprisingly, I have not seen one student with physical disabilities. I say not surprisingly because I wouldn't be surprised if the admissions department chooses to not admit students who need space for a wheelchair, or even crutches of some sort would be problematic.
I teach 6th grade English and have encountered many issues while trying to teach. Firstly, I have tried to excuse smaller groups to do certain activities. For example, I will have one table stand up and update their book cards in the back of the room. I thought that this was the solution to the traffic jam; however, I have concurrently discovered that it is hard for 6th graders to multi-task. That is, they cannot listen to directions while updating their book cards, understandably. So, by excusing simply table by table I have found that I often have to repeat myself. Now, I will excuse table by table then wait until the whole group reconvenes to give directions. It just feels like such a waste of time to me.
Additionally, it makes smaller group work hard, which is crucial in English class. It's hard for smaller groups to actually form because everyone is in everyone else's space.
I can only imagine that this is every New York teacher's dilema. I find myself searching online, or walking around and looking at other rooms, to see what other desk designs teachers have discovered for a more efficient classroom. I am still on that search....I am open to suggestions!!!