Monday, March 12, 2012

Honors Classes in Utah

Even though I want to be an English teacher in Utah, and even though I am excited about the possibilities, I still get so frustrated with the status quo. The class sizes scare me more than anything, and this is the issue that is creeping into the quality of my own kids' educations.

At the local junior high, 70 kids tried out to get into honors geography and English, yet they accepted only 35. The other kids, who maybe just don't have that edge, are resigned to take regular English. This wouldn't be a problem if all the regular teachers were excellent. But that just isn't the case. I think a good teacher can make any class worthwhile an meaningful, whether it's regular or honors.

My son and his friends were in honors English in 7th and 8th grades. These are kids who score high on standardized tests and can write compelling essays. They are excellent students--they just aren't stellar students. Maybe they goof off too much, maybe they are a bit sassy. Maybe they turn in assignments late once in a while. But they are all honors students and should be challenged. I have studied the consequences when adolescents aren't challenged. They shut down. They coast. They wonder why they are sitting in this class when the work is dull and meaningless.

I am not the type of parent who believes her kids can do no wrong. I would never ask a teacher to change their grades or excuse their bad behavior.

So I hope that they will open another honors class for my son. I have petitioned the principal to consider this. If his response is negative, I know it will be because of budget constraints. I know that he does his best with limited resources. If he says yes, I will be happy for my son the other students who I know will thrive in a challenging class.


Kirstin said...


Suey said...

This one of the main reasons we ended up at Maeser. I hated this competition for honors classes. HATED! :)