Lack of Labs

Gia Hernandez, Editor in Chief

This year, many teachers have been unable to conduct labs or certain projects in their classes due to overpopulation. Since many classes have over 30 students, even when people are put into groups there still may not be enough supplies for all the students.

“I only have ten sets of tools, but I have 40 kids. Not all of them are going to be able to do everything I would want them to be able to do when they’re going through the motions. Like if we’re taking something apart, you kinda’ gotta’ space that out into individuals and then kind of bust everything into groups,” manufacturing teacher Austin Andrews said.

When teachers attempt to split students into groups to evenly distribute the available tools, even more problems can arise. Due to the large class sizes, many teachers have trouble trying to monitor every student to prevent accidents. “When you have multiple projects that slices me really thin on what I can supervise and what I can’t and so I think it’s important especially with young people to try and boost leadership in them so that they can kind of control the narrative of what their group is doing,” Andrews said.

Additionally, another issue is that when teachers have a lot of students it not only takes longer to set up labs, but also to go through labs.

“There’s so many students we’ve had to limit the number of things we test or try just because it takes so much longer to get through the labs and we’ve also had to cut a few things out for cost reasons because of the large numbers,” agriculture teacher Joanna Farmer said.

Due to the amount of time it takes to get through labs, many teachers have problems teaching their students, especially in more hands-on classes where demonstrations are normally very frequent.

“When labs take longer, we can’t get through as much material, also if we have activities we have to cut out because we don’t have enough equipment then students are just going to miss out on those opportunities to learn,” Farmer said.

Teachers don’t only have problems with the number of students and tools, but the students themselves can also pose a risk sometimes during labs.

“You get students that aren’t interested that are more wrapped up in doing their own thing, creating distractions … so having a big amount of kids at one time could even be an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) problem because you’re putting too much into a room where they have the potential of getting hurt is greater,” Andrews said.

Although there is no foreseeable end to the overpopulation in classrooms any time soon, teachers continue to adjust, and change to be able to educate their students effectively and safely despite the setbacks.