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February 10, 2015

Your Views: Alarm Bells Ringing: Voices from Schools

The following excerpts are quotes from participants in Public Interest Alberta’s recent Alberta classrooms survey.

“The sheer number of students in the class makes it impossible to spend enough time with each child to support them in reaching their full potential. Add to the large class size a variety of behaviour and social/emotional challenges, and much of my day is spent managing behaviours rather than delivering engaging lessons and providing valuable, individualized feedback to my students.”
- Grade 5 teacher, Grande Prairie, class size: 24–26

“The teacher is divided too thinly. There is no general extra support for these kids ... A day home cannot operate with one adult being responsible for 24 children, so why can a classroom?”
- Parent of a kindergarten student, Ponoka, class size: 24–26

“Having one educational assistant for a class of 30 students where 10 are identified as having special needs is not enough support.”
- Kindergarten support staff, Edmonton, class size: 30–32

“Each day I face an incredibly diverse group of kids. There are eight coded students, 12 English language learners and several other students who require academic and emotional support. I struggle constantly with meeting the needs of everyone and have no classroom support to help with this.”
- Grade 5/6 teacher, Calgary, class size: 27–29

“I have, in a class of 38, usually about seven students with special needs. In every class this would include English language learners, behaviour needs students and learning disabled students. Because I don’t teach one of the four core areas, I am left alone the majority of time to try and to support these students.”
- High school teacher, Calgary, class size: 36-38

“It is difficult at times, depending on if you have behavioural issues with a few students. If you are tending to these issues, it leaves no room to help other kids academically. Finding resources and space to pull these kids out and help them individually is almost impossible. Sometimes we sit in the boot room when it is warm out and do work — sad and stinky.”
- Grade 3 support staff, Lethbridge, class size: 39 or more

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