In an op-ed piece in the L.A. Times, Ellie Herman, a charter school teacher in South Los Angeles, takes on the now-trending argument that great teachers can make up for larger class sizes. That view, she says, essentially romanticizes the practice of great teaching and disregards the diversity and complexity of students’ needs:
Our children--even our children growing up in poverty, especially our children growing up in poverty--deserve to have not only an extraordinary teacher but a teacher who has time to read their work, to listen, to understand why they're crying or sleeping or not doing homework.
To teach each child in my classroom, I have to know each child in my classroom. We teachers need to bring not only our extraordinariness but our flawed and real and ordinary humanity to this job, which involves a complex and ever-changing web of relationships with children who often need more than we can give them.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.