9 March 2015

Bursting at the seams! How teachers can manage increasing class sizes.

Teachers often struggle to manage large classes. The increased number of students in classes puts a lot of strain on staff who are under-prepared an ill-equipped for the change. Teachers who are left to deal with this problem on their own are more likely to feel unsupported and will inevitably burn out quicker. 

Large class sizes don't have to be the demise of your career! Think of each extra student in your class as another opportunity to light their spark and engage them in your subject. If you can fuel a student to learn, you are a true educator.


Your students won't trust you if they don't know you. If they don't trust you, they're not going to follow instruction or respect you in the classroom. If you find yourself in front of a large class you will need to create and maintain genuine relationships with your students. 

One way to establish these connections is by engaging in a meaningful conversation about a topic that a student is passionate about. You will begin to chip into their "circle of trust" and before you know it, you have the student on your side. Try to learn something about each and everyone one of your students. If you know the student likes fishing, ask them about it! You'll be amazed at how quickly they will relate to your caring/interested nature. 

Once you have established these relationships with your students in your class, you will be able to manage a large class with ease! 

Engagement - (The Hook)

Dave Burgess (Teach Like a Pirate) is a tireless advocate of "The Hook". The Hook is that 'wow' element which engages/captivates your class. Primary Educators are notorious at filling their classes with hooks to maintain a focus on quality learning whilst engaging young, developing minds. With large classes, using a hook of any kind can mean the difference between a successful lesson and a traumatic lesson. Find your talent and let that influence your lesson planning. 

Games & Ice-Breakers

With my background in The Arts, I am a firm believer in playing games with students. Games, or ice-breakers as some people refer to them, are a fundamental tool in building class collegiality. Having your class working together as a unit will benefit everything that you do in class. In teaching large classes there are inevitably going to be learning activities based on a collaborative framework, or group-work. 

Here are some great sites for games & ice-breakers:

Good luck in now managing a huge class! Pull as many tricks out of your teaching toolkit as possible and you'll have no trouble managing the increasing number of students in class. 

Do you have any other ways you manage large class sizes?