Well hello there and happy Saturday!
I was SO looking forward to sleeping in today and then I woke up at 6:45am. And this would have been okay if I’d gone to bed at my normal 8:30pm Friday night bedtime, but I didn’t. Steve and I were party animals last night.
Listen to this! First, we went to our tax guy’s office and signed documents.
And then we went to Farmer Boys for a romantic dinner.
And then we strolled through the aisles of Target for cough syrup (him) and glue sticks (me).
By the way, wandering aimlessly through Target for Steve is like me wandering aimlessly through Home Depot so it wasn’t my usual Target experience because he kept saying can we go now?
I didn’t get into bed until almost midnight!!!
Like I said, party animals.
I wish I could say I was going to talk about Baskin Robbins’ 31 Flavors of ice cream, but I’m not.
I got a new student.
He is number 31.
This little guy is super quiet, sweet, and a hard worker. But he is struggling academically and we only have seven weeks left.
Any who . . . I have 31 students.
Our district thinks that our first grade is too full, what with three of us having 31 kids and one of us having 30 kids. I agree with them. I mean, COME ON.
So here’s how they’re solving that.
NEXT YEAR, they’re adding a second grade teacher.
So our second grade classes will all have about 24 students.
Isn’t that so nice?
I mean, don’t you want to clap for how my district is solving THIS YEAR’S PROBLEM?
THIS YEAR’S PROBLEM IS THE PROBLEM BUT NO ONE IS LISTENING TO ME WHEN I SAY THAT.
WILL SOMEONE PLEASE LISTEN TO ME RANT AND RAVE BECAUSE IF YOU CANNOT TELL, I AM FIRED UP ABOUT IT.
Here’s my BIGGEST problem of all.
Our kinder program is half day.
And what that means is that every year, we have SEVERAL parents put their kids in all day private kindergarten AND THEN ENROLL THEM INTO FIRST GRADE AT OUR SCHOOL.
So even though our kinder classes are “low” this year (25 students each) and first grade is projected to have 25 also, we won’t.
We were only supposed to have 25 kids THIS CURRENT YEAR.
And then EIGHTEEN NEW FIRST GRADERS ENROLLED DURING THE SUMMER.
I’ll do the math for you.
Each one of us did NOT have 25 students on day one this year.
WE ALL HAD 30 OR 31.
And you know the EXACT SAME THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT YEAR.
But it’s okay.
Because we’re adding a second grade teacher and that’s all.
THAT IS ALL, I said.
And yes, you better believe I thought about moving up to second grade.
But I LOVE first grade. It is where my heart is. I can’t go. I can’t.
Alright, I feel better.
I’ll feel even better if someone leaves a comment saying that this is ATROCIOUS and NOT OKAY and HOW FIRST GRADE IS CRUCIAL ESPECIALLY WHEN THE KIDS GO TO HALF DAY KINDERGARTEN. And just to be clear, our kinder and second grade teachers are absolutely amazing and I love them all and they all work hard and this isn’t about the teachers.
It’s about the KIDS.
You can pretty much just copy/paste that, but don’t let me put words into your mouth.
Oh my word, that could have been a blog post unto itself.
Maybe I should try to go back to sleep . . .
OBSESSED WITH PRINTING ON STICKY NOTES!
Yes, a stamp would work for this. I get it. But I don’t have a stamp that says this (I know, I know) but I DO have sticky notes!
You can get the template FREE from Abby at The Inspired Apple.
And then you can print whatever the heck you want and stick it on things!!!!
It is so fun!!!
Things like this make me forget that I can’t really walk around my classroom without stepping on someone.
These adorable bunny rabbits were ALL OVER social media this week and so I had to hop on the bunny train.
The templates are free at Teach Starter! This made for a super fun Friday afternoon activity. My kids were really into this and it was SO QUIET while they made their patterns and designs.
Aren’t they so cool??!!!
I’ve read these books recently. Sisters One Two Three was actually FREE for me to read on my Kindle because of my Prime membership.
It was a pretty good book for being free. 🙂 It’s all about relationships between a mom and her daughters, and then of course, between the sisters. There is a brother, too, and that’s what kind of makes you keep reading because you want to know what is going to happen. Towards the end, I kind of guessed what happened so in that way, it’s sort of predictable.
Then I read Those Who Save Us.
Oh, it’s so good, but so so so heart breaking. It takes place alternately during World War 2 in Germany and the present. It was hard to read at times, but I couldn’t put it down because the characters are really well written and you have to know what happens. But it is gut wrenching.
Which is why I am now reading Andi Dorfman’s book because it’s about reality TV and the Bachelorette, specifically, and it’s just light hearted and fun. She does write it as if she’s talking to me (and you) about how to survive a break up.
And that starts to feel weird because I haven’t broken up with anyone in a really long time because I avoid confrontation like nobody’s business, plus I’m happily married and old.
But I loved Josh Murray on her season (not on Bachelor in Paradise where he literally sucked the face off of Amanda Stanton and I’m not kidding) and I REALLY JUST WANT TO KNOW WHY JOSH AND ANDI BROKE UP.
So that’s what I’m currently reading and it’s helping me get over Those Who Save Us which I couldn’t stop thinking about.
Have you seen this movie???!!!
Steve and I watched it last night and it is SO SO SO GOOD. It’s also TERRIBLY SAD!
I don’t know if I should have watched it last night.
I mean, I was tired. We’d been gallivanting all over town (remember I went to the tax guy and Farmer Boys and Target??), and I didn’t get to go to the computer lab because our upper grade students are state testing, and the teacher before me was still in there, and how can you say anything because they’re TESTING and you don’t have to test, you just want your kids on the computers for some peace and quiet?
You can’t say anything.
You just go back to class and try to come up with a 45 minute activity instead. Cue the bunny rabbits.
And then I sat in on interviews for our new second grade teacher.
And then I had a glass of wine because of all of the above, obviously, and watching this movie just made me cry.
Through most of it.
It is HEART BREAKING.
But it is so so so good.
And now I need to adopt 80,000 little Indian children because that is how many go missing EACH YEAR.
Oh my goodness, this post is sort of depressing.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
I swear I’m okay.
And that’s my life.
I teach (a crazy amount of children).
I do my taxes.
I go to Target.
I read and watch movies.
AND I CANNOT SLEEP IN.
How are you?
🙂 🙂 🙂
I feel your pain! Our cap is 30 so that’s just how many we have all the time. And when our school was built the cap was 20, so the classrooms are definitely not meant for 30 kids!!! It’s rough for sure!
Hi, I’m Nel, I did not party last night, but I am crazy busy this morning. So far I have watched a giraffe give birth, and learn to walk. I have folded 6 loads of laundry, am busy putting together a flash card activity for my kinderbabies, and trying to keep up with drinking water, and feeding a teen. I will now add printing on post it notes to my day! Wild I tell you, wild!
Books….I will at some point read Those Who Save Us, but I am still recovering from reading All the Light We Can Not See. I could not, and still can not stop thinking about it. I can’t watch sad movies, as I sob during commercials, and apparently giraffe births.
I teach K2 which in Boston is the year before first grade. I am working like a mad person to get them ready. I can not sleep in, because the two words: Level D, haunt my dreams.
Wouldn’t trade my job for anything, except maybe living on a farm with many foster children and dogs.
Thanks for your post, I felt it very clearly this morning.
You cracked me up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I totally agree that having more than 25 students in a first grade class is atrocious. My state went to full day kindergarten several years ago and that’s working well. My district does try to keep the K-2 ratios at 24:1. There are some years when that doesn’t happen, but NO ONE in my K-5 public school has 31 students. I once taught an advanced elementary math class with 32 students and it was hard to keep up with not only the grading, but I was extremely busy getting a good read on who did or did not get a concept.
Hang in there, Kristin. Good luck with your newest student. I enjoy starting my digital Saturday with your blog.
Wow!!! Our upper grade classes are capped at 34.
It’s just sad.
Your class size IS atrocious! In our contract (Bay Area), we have language that says if they go over our cap by 2 students, they have to start paying us $10 per day per extra kid. You need contract language! Start (or continue) griping to your union and get that language into your next contract! Teachers are not magicians! “A few extra kids” is a HUGE deal and large classes benefit NO ONE!!! Yesterday, we were short a sub and had to split a class. I teach K. So yesterday I had 30 kinders instead of my usual 24. It was atrocious. I don’t know how you are even still standing.
Wow! Our pay for going over is not per day. It’s just a stipend. And it’s not enough, let me tell you! Ha! I don’t know how I’m still standing either!
That is way too many! I teach kindergarten in Michigan and two years ago I had 28. I thought *that* was a lot! I don’t know what I’d do with 31! We do get overload pay if we go two over our contract number of 24, but I would rather have less students! (I’m 45 and like my early bedtimes too!)
I do get $ for having 31. However . . . our cap is 29. And I won’t get $ for the 30 I’ve had all year. The language reads “over 30”. So. I might get $ for this 31st one but I’m with you! I’d rather have less students!
Sandi Fisher says
WOW! You guys! You had me until I read the part about contracts and being paid for anyone over the limit. I teach in Philadelpha., Pa. We haven’t had a raise or a new signed contract in 5 years. Our kindergarten is packed at 30 with a 2 hour max for assistants. We have 2 of the best teachers trying to wrangle their charges into a line, most of whom have never seen the inside of a classroom. My team of 3 teach 5th grade and each have 28-29 in our class. Not too bad until you factor in size (of students not classrooms. I mean seriously have you seen those feet!)
I wouldn’t change jobs for anything, unless my principal retires, but it sure would be nice to have some support from the the district in terms of some contract talks. WOW! You get paid for extra students! That just blows me away!
This is ATROCIOUS and NOT OKAY and HOW FIRST GRADE IS CRUCIAL ESPECIALLY WHEN THE KIDS GO TO HALF DAY KINDERGARTEN.
I have to say, I feel sooooo bad for you but those are 31 LUCKY kids to get to have you as their teacher!!!
You’re the sweetest! Thanks for copying/pasting! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I CAN NOT believe your school thinks 25 kids in a class is okay!!!!! Let alone 31!!!! Ridiculous for kindergarten and definitely first grade! Do any of you have aides? God bless you because my school strongly believes in small classes at the elem level and 18 would be considered a lot. It seems like it would be all about classroom management and less about actually teaching!
(P.S. Thanks for always making us laugh with your blog. Love reading it!)
Right?! It’s crazy! And no aides! 🙁
I had 30 my first year teaching first grade and felt I was only managing behaviors let alone trying to teach kids to READ! I can’t believe your school still has such large numbers in the primary grades. We went larger when we lost class size reduction but they have a least tried to manage a 24:1 ratio now. I agree with going to your union to try and get the language changed. I’ve never been big on using the union until the last few years of terrible administration at my school. We have a sub storage now too and they combine classes. Some classes end up with over 45 students! Crazy what the higher ups think is ok for kids!
Wow. Holy cow!!!
I. can’t. even. imagine 31 students! I have 18! Our cap is 22!!! You need to come teach first grade with me:)
Yes. Yes, I think I do!!! 🙂
Oh my gosh, you could be in my district. Yup, our numbers are up in first so they are adding a second grade teacher…huh? Let’s get a first grade teacher, we have to teach them to read! But, at least this year we were a bit lower, I had 29 last year, all English Language Learners, 4 of my kids did not show up this year, so I had 23 until Nov, we only have 23-25 each this year, but kinder is huge and we shall get slammed next year. Good thing we are adding a second grade teacher…..
UGHHHHHH!!! I so feel your pain!!
Lyn Goff says
As both a teacher and a parent I know that 31 kids in a first grade class is unfair to both the kids and the teacher. I would (quietly) encourage parents to complain loudly and frequently to the school board (and principal and local paper). In our district I think that might bring about change. Good Luck!
Thank you!!! 🙂
Oh my gosh! 31 first graders. Can you see me bowing before you ? With wine of course! That is the craziest (insert stupidest) thing EVER! Being a fifth grade teacher I have often advocated for smaller class sizes in the primary grades. That way when they reach me I can deal with the larger size! But alas my soapbox is high and no one who matters ever listens. So I say go have another glass of wine and i will pray someone who can change things for you reads this!!!!
31 kids in first grade is educational malpractice in my opinion. It’s such a shame what is happening these days in education everywhere. I’ve been teaching middle school for 27 years (most of it 7th grade math) and some days I don’t know how I will make it to retirement. I have kids who are 18, 15, and 11 so retirement is three college educations off for me. And you know what? It’s not the kids, the kids were, are, and always will be the best part of my job. But the expectations from administrators who have taught an average of five years and the politics, and the blah blah blah is almost more than I can bear. Hang in there summer is coming. I’m speaking optimistically because I’m FINALLY on Day 2 of Spring Break so I am psychologically recalibrating myself. 🙂
Julie Clark says
California still has only half day kindergarten?! That’s crazy!! And I seriously don’t know how you do it. You have soooo many kids and no specials. I feel for you.
There is a reason for all this madness…..sometimes we teacher forget that for those who make the decisions, it is NOT all about the kids. We, the teachers, live our classroom and sometimes our private lives that way…giving, doing, hoping, caring and believing in our children, those sweet students who are ours for only a short time. For those who make the decisions, it is about the dollar, the money, accountability to their superiors, the spread sheet, their jobs. If only they could see that if all decisions are made FOR the kids, the rest would fall into place.
You are right….but with 31, it won’t matter. You will still do what you do, because you are a good person.
Hey Kristen! You probably don’t want to hear this but in Ontario, Canada our grade 1-3 are capped at 20 with a hard cap of about 23. I could not even Imagine trying to teach 31 kids. That’s more like herding cats than teaching. Huge props to you for that.
(Your RV adventure friend)
kelly rutherford says
I switched a couple of years ago to a school system with all day kindergarten and a pre-k all day program. The difference with the kids is amazing! It is a Title 1 school with high poverty. But…..I have 16 second grade students!!! It is fabulous! Some people say they wouldn’t want to work with our “kids”. Sure, most of them have 1 parent that is incarcerated or they live in a shelter or motel, but that just makes me love them more. I don’t know how you can teach that many kiddos and differentiate. I am sure you are fabulous, but it has to be exhausting! So, after my week of spring break is coming to an end, my hat is off to you and suddenly I feel lucky.
Good luck with your new little and I’ll be praying for change for you!
A few years ago I had 28 kindergarten students. I was the only kindergarten class. The 4th grade had 23 students and was a split class. They had 11 students in one class and 12 in the other. I was very unhappy about that. I talked with administration, school board members and parents. One of the 4th grade teachers were mad at me for trying to get the class split for 1st grade. She knew that if they split a class in the lower grades, they would not split the class of 23 students. They do a rotation schedule at the 4th – 6th grade classes. She would have to have 23 students at once! She ended up yelling at me at a faculty meeting! Very selfish teacher. She did not care what was best for the going to be 1st grade students. She just cared about keeping her numbers low. I kept being given classes of 28 kindergarten students. That is why I am burned out and ready to retire at the age of 56. I moved to preschool because I did not see them stopping the big kindergarten classes. This year, I have 16 preschool kids at a time, by myself. One more year! I love teaching, but I feel that I have been taken advantage of year after year.
A number of years ago, I taught in the great state of Indiana. Our governor, Robert Orr, started a program called “Project Prime Time” in which teachers with 17 students or more had a full-time aide! It was heaven! He even found a way to fund it so that our district, which was very poor, could have as many aides as we needed. There isn’t enough space in this blog to list all of the benefits, but the program was awesome! There is no way on God’s green Earth that you should have so many first graders! Don’t you wonder what Betsy Devos would say about that?
I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. You should come teach with me in Haysville, Kansas. We have a cap of 24 for K-3rd (and a first grade opening). Our 4th and 5th are only allowed to get to 27. I love that my district understands how crucial primary grades are and that lower class numbers do make a difference. We have already added a position for next year because one grade level is projected to be too full. Keep asking. Perhaps you can persuade someone someday!
Amy Layton says
This is ATROCIOUS and NOT OKAY and HOW FIRST GRADE IS CRUCIAL ESPECIALLY WHEN THE KIDS GO TO HALF DAY KINDERGARTEN.
How are the parents ok with this? How is it safe for one adult to be in charge of this many children? As a parent and educator myself, I would be complaining DAILY to the people in charge!! What a disservice. 🙁
Good for you for not quitting. I don’t know how you do it.