Editorials and Opinions

Overbooked classes make a tougher learning environment

By Sandy Shen
Published: September 2010

It’s the first day of school and I walk into my math classroom, glancing around to see which of my friends are with me.
I’m happy to see a group of them sitting in the far corner, and I approach them with a grin. The bell rings, and what seem like the final few students come filing in, filling the remaining seats.
Our teacher begins his lecture to a full classroom of students, assuming that the entire class is present; however, five minutes into the lecture, a bunch of students who were either lost or let out late from the class before come filing in.
Due to the lack of desks, people had to pile themselves on top of the radiator, or on the ground in the back of the room.
My psychology class was no different. There were at least five more people than desks in the classroom.
The same goes for my physics class as well as my literature class, which, at an average-sounding 23 people, is grossly overwhelming for an English class.
As a senior who is taking multiple AP courses, I find that many of my classes, due to a combination of budget cuts and high class demand, are immensely overbooked.
This, in conjunction with the level of challenge that many AP classes provide, results in an increased difficulty for students to learn, simply because of the decreased one-on-one time each teacher has with his or her students.
Obviously, the greater the student-teacher ratio, the lower quality of education a student receives.
For students pursuing a class at an AP level, this is completely backwards logic, since, assumedly, most of them will want to be learning the most they can.
For the school to inhibit that, by overbooking the classes instead of distributing more teachers over the hardest course levels, this will only hinder the students’ education.
To solve this problem, the school should start restricting class sizes at a lower number, because cramming 30 students into a BC Calculus class only lowers the efficiency of the entire class, whereas a class with maybe 25 students maximum would run infinitely more smoothly.
The catch is, of course, that five fewer students would not receive the education at all. However, I think when weighing cost against benefit, having 30 students receive a slightly mediocre education is definitely worse than having 25 students receive an excellent one.

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