The more the merrier?

A picture of them from last year in 6th grade- Picture with Lino Albergaria ( Literature Writer) visiting our school – 2012

Source of the image:

The more the merrier? Not sure. What I am completely sure of though is that without any doubt for me it was an experience I will never forget. It wasn’t magical or even perfect. It was just the FIRST TIME I stepped into a large room and had to work with 30 students all at once.

The reason why I had to work in a 7th grade class ( 2 actually) was sad though. A colleague and also a dear friend of mine has lost his wife, so other colleagues and I had to cover for him. It was the least I could do for him right now. So, I did. And so did everyone in our school who could help by looking after his classes fitting the extra groups in our schedules. But my friend who doesn’t mind working with large groups in elementary school had a plan in his mind, but had no time to leave instructions. And as I don’t work with large groups ( maximum 10 students) had no idea what I was suppose to do with such a large class. I did though the obvious thing. I contacted the DOS as soon as it was possible and got informed that I was going to apply tests. The first test was speaking and listening which had been applied the week before, and this week a written test that involved grammar quiz.

Because the first test involved an oral test, I was very nervous and had no idea of what to do. I spent hours trying to figure out how or what I should assess in the speaking test. The listening was actually a fill in the gaps – one dialogue and one short monologue. To my surprise the minute I stepped into the room, the option was obvious. They just had to read the text aloud.

But this post has nothing to do with the tests themselves, and much more to do with the fact that as I moved from one room to another, I made new discoveries abou the dynamics and my assumption about large groups.

This post is about the fact that even though I have always been afraid of large classes, what I found was a group of 30 kids interested somehow. It was interesting to see a good number of them moving their lips and trying to repeat what I had just said. It was also surprising to see that it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. It was quite amazing to see those 12 year-old kids with their eyes wide open, trying to make sense of the sounds and repeating. The first group ( more girls in it) was very participative and every time I elicited the meaning, asked for an example or asked a question some of the girls would give it a try. The second group, most of them boys in it, not as participative as the first one, and I kept wondering if I changed the position of the desks how would that change their participation in normal days classes.

Number is certainly not an issue as much as I thought it would be.


4 thoughts on “The more the merrier?

  1. My condolences to your friend and colleague.

    What a big transition from small classes to large ones! It’s really good that you got the chance to have this experience and got started thinking about the different dynamics depending on class size. How lucky! In my experience, I found that large groups have totally different challenges than small groups – like in large groups, quieter students are more likely to “slip through the cracks”. Group work is important with large groups and games are more fun. I hope you had fun with the new experience.


  2. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to teach a large group! I’m usually nervous about getting the names down as soon as possible for, say, 12 people. But 30? Anyway, glad it went OK for you — and sorry to hear the sad reason for it.


  3. Thanks Anne and Kathy for stopping by.
    Anne let’s say it was interesting and although it was only two days made me think a bit about large groups.
    So did I Kathy. Interesting you mentioned getting the row call. That was the first thing I thought of before entering the classroom. Luckily for me, it was test day!
    By the way, my colleague is back at work. He is trying hard to deal with it. So far, he is doing fine.


  4. Pingback: Focusing on learning | ROSE BARD – Teaching Journal

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