The impossibility of English 10

Forget the philosophies about heterogeneous versus homogenous classrooms. Forget English 9. Forget Shakespeare.
English 10 just ain’t gonna’ work for struggling and advanced student, who we’re told can meet with teachers twice a week during the lunch hour.
A few quick calculations show the glaring impossibility of success for these students.

* Twenty-percent of West’s 10th graders cannot read at grade level.
* Let’s assume a perfect bell shaped curve, which would mean twenty percent can handle work beyond the regular coursework.
* Soooooo, 40% of the 10th graders should be meeting with teachers during lunch.
* West has 535 9th graders this year, meaning that next year 214 10th graders will need to meet with a teacher during the lunch hour. (535 x 40% = 214)
* If they meet with a teacher twice a week, that produces 428 contacts of some sort in the week. (214 students x twice a week = 428)
* Those 428 contacts spread over five days in the week mean that 85 10th graders need to see a teacher during the lunch hour each day.
* Let’s assume that 10 English teachers will be available, meaning that each teacher will be able to meet with 8 students during a lunch hour.
* Going further, let’s assume that in between eating and getting to the class after lunch, the schedule allows 40 minutes for students to meet with teachers.
* If each teacher meets individually with each of the 8 students during those 40 minutes, each student will have 5 minutes with a teacher.

What’s a struggling student or an honors student going to learn in 5 minutes?
Or, maybe West could create 3 or 4 more sections of English 10 to meet during those 40 minutes for those 85 students each day, leading us right back to asking whether those classes should be grouped heterogeneously or not.
In short, the planning for West’s English Curriculum Reduction Plan needs to deal with the reality of only a few minutes a day during lunch to meet the academic needs of 214 students. It needs to deal with the reality of providing academic challenge and producing academic excellence for each and every student at West. The students deserve it.
ps. See what else goes on at lunch at West by visiting the school’s page on more than 100 Lunch and Learn Activities, which run AODA Use Support Group to English Help groups five days a week.