Can you take your thoughts back a month? I discovered this morning that I had written this article a month ago and had never published it. I thought you might enjoy it.
We were to have had the annual Children’s Rally this morning but it rained heavily overnight and the prediction for this morning is an 80% chance of thundershowers. The rally has been “postponed.” Candi thinks it will never happen. At any rate, we had already notified parents of a half-day of school; the students will go home at noon. We will use the afternoon to do a bit of assessment.
We have already discovered that our students are behind where we usually are at the beginning of the year, so just now Candi was putting away the math books and getting out some books that are not as advanced.
You may already be aware that we separate our students into two classes, a review class and a prep class. The review class students realize that they are expected to spend two years with us while the prep students are .expecting one year. Candi started the prep students with grade 6 books and the review students with grade 5. We just now made adjusted both classes back one year. Remember that we want our prep students working at a grade 8 level by the end of the year.We will be starting with addition and subtraction of whole numbers.
Right now we have 4 review students and 13 prep students. We have discovered that Paul does not even know his letters and Harrison is not much better off. That will take a lot of extra effort from our teachers and from them. I asked if there was any way to know if they were just behind or if they had learning problems. Candi said we can get them tested but that it may take as much as a year to get the results back. So we will see what we can do.
It may be helpful for you to know that social promotion is an official policy of the ministry of education here in Belize. If a student gets behind he/she will be promoted anyway. Soon they may be far behind and then the teacher sets them in the back of the class and ignores them. If the student is no trouble they just get further and further behind. If they are trouble, the teacher will give them a very hard time and before long the student just quits attending. Before you react against those teachers too strongly, be advised that class sizes of 40 are not unusual and 35+ is the norm. There is, after all, a limit to what one teacher can do.
During the discussion this morning, Candi said that a former student, Vanessa, came to us after having completed 6th form. She did not even know how to hold her pencil to write, let alone know her letters. But she was willing to work very hard and she is now attending high school. Yes, that’s what we are here for.