Bigger isn’t always better

Class sizes could be becoming too big


Tristan Gomes, Staff writer

Millard West is one of the larger schools in the state of Nebraska, with 2,498 students. Many may say that is it too big. West has many students who graduate and go on to do bigger and better things, but what about those who do not have the stellar grades and have a tougher time learning.

The student to teacher ratio is 17:1, which is  a reasonable number, but I have never been in a class with less than 20 other students. With that many students, teachers must work with the majority instead of individual students. If only 20 out of 24 students get the topic or main idea of the lesson then teachers believe that they are successful. Every single student needs be able to have a chance to be successful and fulfill their goals, but when there is 23 other students needing help from one teacher, it is extremely tough.

Teachers at West are overwhelmed due to the fact that they have to deal with so many students. By fourth block, teachers can be cranky or on their last nerve with their students. They have to deal with 80 plus students a day and making sure every single student is on benchmark is tough. Nowadays when a student comes home with a below average grade, such as a 4 or a 5 their first excuse is “The teacher is bad.”

That needs to stop, and should not be an excuse.

The teachers do not have control of how many students they have in their classes. The first day of the semester students walk in and some teachers look very worried when noticing the cluster of students. Teachers should have more of an opinion on how many students they have in their class because they are the ones doing the teaching.

“Department heads choose how many students are in a class,” principal Greg Tiemann said. “Science and math classes usually have less students because they usually need more individual help.”

The average school class size is 23.1 students, but some classes have around 30. One teacher cannot help 30 plus students at once and make every single student understand the concept.

Block scheduling plays huge factor because teachers have a longer time to teach fewer students than they would in a seven  period schedule. But for many students it is hard to pay attention for 90 minutes. Many classes involve lectures, according to who did a study and said students who are in lecture led classes are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students that are in more active learning classes. A teacher cannot keep every single students’ attention for 90 minutes straight.

Specialty classes such as Carpentry and Metalworking have less students because students need more help than classes such as Personal Finance and Everyday Living, and there are typically more than one teachers in those classes. That is the same for math and science classes such as Chemistry, but although there are less students there is typically only one teacher in the class to help. So maybe that could be a solution to all core classes.

It would be tough due to the fact that we are on a low budget but it is worth a shot. If there were multiple teachers in a class the teacher to student ratio would go down and teachers could be more efficient.

Another issue is the students. Some students aren’t bought in and make it hard for teachers to help students who do care. Teachers are too busy trying to help students who aren’t that interested in being successful while other students who want to succeed are struggling with no help.

Our school is one of the top schools in the state according to USnews/education. Although there are students who excel at this school, there are also students who struggle and need more help from teachers. With smaller class sizes teachers would have  less students to worry about and they would be able to get more help that they need.