Well, I have been very frustrated with my 8th grade class, getting to the point of canceling handwork for the rest of the year... So, after a concerned parent contacted me, I decided to brainstorm with the main lesson teacher for a solution. Temporarily, I have split the class, so I am working with a maximum of 15 at a time, instead of 25. SO, yesterday was the first day, I had about 12 students, and it worked like magic!! I actually felt that I was teaching instead of putting out fires and taking care of behaviour problems, which in retrospect were probably a result of too many students (do ya think??) for a handwork teacher to handle, at least for 8th grade. They only will get handwork once a week this way, but really, that is what they were getting before. The students loved it, and I think they felt more respected....I know they felt more respected. Even the "difficult" students that worked with me yesterday were completely different in that atmosphere.
SOOOO, I have given our administrator my intentions for next year, which are to still teach handwork, but with a co-teacher if the classes cannot be reduced for me. It is so hard, we need the money each student brings, but the class sizes have doubled since I have started, and I was a little unprepared for the result of that.....live and leare....oh, and if I cannot co-teach or have smaller classes, I will be on to a different adventure. Needless to say, I am getting my resume up to date!!!!