Overcrowding

By Adam Bander, High School Math Teacher from Portland, OR

My name is Adam, and I am a high school math teacher. I have been teaching for ten years. My mother was a teacher for over thirty years, and
 I have always admired her and others in the profession, so one thing led to another and I also became a teacher!

I feel fortunate to teach at a school that has strong support from the parents and community. This has allowed us to purchase extra technology and hire additional support in the classroom, but I know that isn’t the case everywhere. These resources have allowed us to prioritize smaller class sizes for courses where students often need more one on one support. Our freshman algebra classes, for example, now maintain class sizes averaging in the mid-20s.

“Often I am working in the cafeteria on my prep period while a class is being taught in one half, and students and staff are working in the other half.”

This has been great for students and teachers both, but overcrowding at my school has led to me now teaching in very different classrooms over the course of a two-day A/B block schedule. Teaching between so many different rooms is difficult and means that I am stuck carrying equipment and materials from room to room all day. I have tried to adapt with more technology but only about half of the students have the financial means to bring computers with them to class; it feels unfair to expect every family to provide a laptop for their student. Moving between classrooms all day also means I’m generally without a designated area to grade or plan. Often I am working in the cafeteria on my prep period while a class is being taught in one half, and students and staff are working in the other half.

I would say that we are more fortunate than many other schools in Oregon, but it’s still not enough.

For things to get better, we need strong leadership to push the discourse in favor of intellectualism and cooperation. Education is important to every Oregonian, directly or indirectly, and I hope we continue to push for more investment.

Adam Bander is a High School Math Teacher in Portland, OR. #OReducatorvoices