Mom's Talk Q&A: Student/Teacher Ratios

Each week, our Patch moms answer the questions that affect family life. Do you have questions? Tell us!

Question:  Where do you draw the line with teacher/student ratios?

Answer: Where to begin!? There are so many factors when it comes to teacher/student ratios. 

A few things immediately come to mind when I think about this. First, I had both small and large classroom sizes when I was in school. Whether it affected me depended on the class. But every child is different.  Therefore, size does matter.

No matter which class it is, smaller is always better for a variety of reasons. With a smaller class size, the teacher can work more closely with each child. Larger classes get less of an individualized attention.

Another reason class size is important is the fact that teachers can pick out bullying and see which children are getting picked on a lot quicker than those that are larger. 

Same thing goes with learning disabilities. Even in the United States, there are children who are illiterate. Teachers who can have more individual time with each student will be able to help struggling students learn in an individualized way.

I get shocked when I hear about adults who went all the way through school and didn't even know how to read. How can these things not be caught? Could it be because teachers are overwhelmed with large class sizes? I think so.

The more budget cuts there are, the fewer teachers there are, and, in turn, classroom sizes grow. Teachers then become overwhelmed, and students suffer. I read a lot about the magic number being 30. Student size should be kept under 30 children in each class.

Let's think about this. Have you ever babysat three children who weren't yours? It gets tougher and tougher as you start babysitting more and more children. It's hard to keep an eye on everyone, isn't it? 

The kids may be sitting at a desk instead of running around in a backyard, but the principle is still there. The younger they are, the less likely they are to pay attention. A larger-sized classroom with young children is even more likely to difficult to manage.

I think class size should be 20 or less. Thirty seems to be pushing it. I remember being in a class with 35 students, and I definitely did not get the attention I needed. I even asked for time to spend with the teacher, and it never happened. Too many kids asking for additional time and kids who are too shy to ask more will get overlooked. 

I will say this: It's not the teacher's fault when kids get overlooked. It's the fact they are overwhelmed with so many children asking for the same thing.


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