Last year I took my first go at RI and had a grade 2 class. I decided to stick with grade 2 because I'd made so many mistakes that I MUST be able to do a better job this year.
Last year my RI class finished at about 23 students (although it started at about 20 - there was some accumulation during the year).
This year the school changed from an opt-out system (you have to write a letter saying that you don't want your child taught RI), to an opt-in system (where you have to write a letter saying that you do want your child taught RI). This meant a bit of a drop in numbers. You'd think my class would have been smaller.
But no, because they needed somewhere to put all the students who weren't doing RI, they took the smallest two classes, joined them together and gave them to me.
I started the year with 29 students.
I am not, and never have been a teacher.
It was hard.
Then I acquired an extra couple of students.
I recorded my plea in church, and found a willing and able helper to assist with crowd control.
Then we acquired a couple of extra students.
I started planning a 20 minute lesson, knowing that the first 10 minutes of the half-hour lesson would be taken up with getting chairs from next door for the extras. I also had to leave out anything exciting because there simply wasn't enough room in the classroom for movement of any kind.
I was struggling. Seriously struggling. And while I've always found taking RI hard, I wasn't able to make the individual connection with students that makes it rewarding.
One of the other teachers offered me her class for second semester. Then we found that we now had 35 students, so I took her up on it.
Today I had 20 grade three students (four from my class last year).
The classroom is big enough.
There is no-one coming from next door so that I have to find chairs.
They are a whole heap more capable in reading and puzzles and understanding instructions, and we can do fun games again.
I can't believe the difference made by fifteen.
P.S. The classroom teacher of my original class complained, they've now taken five students out of my old class to go to the other grade 2 class, and two students have changed schools. And the chance that would have happened if I hadn't changed classes? Yep.