Dimond Students Experience Large Class Sizes as School Year Begins

As the 2019-2020 school year began at Dimond, students started to notice larger than normal class sizes, with as many as 40 students in one classroom.

It may be easy to blame higher attendance rates for the large amounts of students per class but, it’s really the number of teachers that’s the problem. Last year Dimond lost a lot of teachers due to retirement and the removal of some positions. 

A lot of teachers this year are teaching extra periods and subjects than their used to, with a lot more workload. The extremely large class sizes can make it hard for some teachers to effectively teach their classes and have one on one time with students.

Dimond Spanish teacher Richie Velez said, “My biggest class is an upper division course Spanish four five mix, period four. I have 43 kids enrolled in that class. 

“If this was a class of freshman and sophomore it would be nearly impossible, since this is a class of upperclassman for the most part, they have a different level of respect. Getting them to quiet down is pretty impressive for a group this size, but doing warmups for a class of this size takes about half the hour.”

In some extreme cases like these, it’s impossible for every student to even have a desk to sit at, filling the classroom to the brim. 

The mathematics department also took a hit this year, especially for the Pre-calculus teachers. This year, only two teachers at Dimond teach pre-calculus, Carrie Melville and Jim Anderson. 

Pre-calculus is a course that many students take in high school, and the high popularity of the course, mixed with the lack of teachers, makes for some very large classes that teachers aren’t used to.

Melville said, “I teach Pre-calculus, Algrebra II, and Survey of Algebra. My biggest classes have 37 students, and they are both pre-calculus, 37 is the biggest I’ve ever had in 27 years.”

Pre-calculus can be a very difficult course for students, and having a teacher to ask questions and get help from is something that a lot of people need.

Melville said, “I think it’s going to make it more difficult, it’s going to be harder to get to around to each student each day, and I worry about a student getting lost in the mix because they don’t feel like they have time to ask questions. I still feel like I’m going to do the best job that I can do, and I’m going to give every opportunity for each student to reach out, but I’m worried about the student’s that shier.”

The English department also took some heavy hits this year, with the loss of three teachers from last year.

Dimond Junior Anita Koelsch said, “My Calculus and English classes, until this past week we didn’t even have enough tables for everybody, somebody had to sit at the back desk.”

English teachers also have to pick up the slack by teaching extra periods. Some teachers who haven’t taught English for years now have to teach an English period with little time to prepare.

Electives such as art have also been seeing an influx of students as people’s schedule’s are rearranged to fit their core classes.

Koelsch said, “My biggest class is art, sixth hour is advanced and AP combined and I bet there are like 40 something kids in there, it’s wild. Most days some peopl ego outside because there are just so many people.

“In art especially it’s definitely harder to get LT’s attention just because he has two classes squished into one and so many students working on different things.”

As students per teacher rises, so does the work each teacher has to do to keep up with their classes. Grading assignments and other paper work has been multiplied for some teachers, making it hard to keep up with their normal jobs.

Melville said, “I think it’s going to add time to my grading, I’m going to have to do a lot more. There’s going to be a lot more time going into it because of more kids.”

Velez said, “Especially writing segments students have to write, I personally read those. So reading these writings are going to take me while, but I’m going to use and get as many aids as I can hopefully.”

Hopefully as the school year progresses, students and teachers will be able to adapt to their new classes, and be able to be just as productive and efficient as previous years before this.