I saw this news item the other day and had to laugh. Apparently, the Chicago Teacher's Union is suing Chicago Public Schools because CPS wants to raise the class size limit from 32 to 35 students. The union is citing a rule stating that, for safety reasons, there must be 20 square feet of classroom per student, which would require 720 square feet for a class of 35. CPS claims that most classrooms are at least 700 square feet, and many classrooms meet the required 720.
I taught English at Riverton High School, the largest school in Utah. I had a cap of 38 students for each class, but for various reasons had 40 students in one of my sophomore classes. (Funny story: a kid moved in and was signed up for that class. I had to send him back to the office to find another class or have the custodians bring me a 41st desk. He was assigned to another teacher.) We had evacuation drills, and my 40 students got out just fine. Was my room 720 square feet? I'm not sure. Was it hard to teach 40 kids in the same room? You bet. Were we bumping into desks? Absolutely. But you know what? That sophomore English class was one of my favorites all year long. I had a blast, and I like to think that most of my students learned something and had a good time doing it.
Teaching and learning are nice in small groups. But when the budget doesn't allow for it, as CPS's budget clearly doesn't, you make adjustments. CTU would be up in arms if CPS were cutting salaries or pensions or support staff or (horrors!) jobs. If the teachers in Utah can do it with almost every class every year on a much smaller budget and with less compensation, the teachers in Chicago can quit whining and get teaching.
I discovered a blog from an old professor of mine on branding. I think it's quite entertaining and and straightforward. It's worth checking out if you're into that sort of thing (Lincoln...).
Also, I am a big fan of long bad pun jokes (e.g., only Hugh can prevent florist friars). Here is a great one from Best of Web:
"Palm tree fronds may have saved the life of a 4-year-old boy who on Friday morning fell from a 17th-floor balcony at the Doubletree Grand Hotel.... The boy, whose name was not released by authorities, somehow climbed over a covered balcony railing, bounced off a palm tree and safely landed on the "dirt surface" of an area surrounding the hotel's 10th-floor pool, said Kenia Reyes, a Miami police spokeswoman."It's a miracle--he doesn't appear to have broken a bone,"
The moral of the story? It never hurts to have fronds in high places!"