Nisi deals with newly enlarged class sizes

Clay and photography teacher Carey Nisi is one the many teachers dealing with larger than average class sizes this year. Nisi has been teaching for over 15 years and she says that this year’s class sizes are some of the largest she has seen thus far. With the help of her fellow art teaching colleagues, she intends to make the art classes of this year just as successful as the previous years.

Nisi said she does not know exactly why the class sizes are so large this year. Her ideas for this year’s larger classes range from more students taking an interest in the arts to students simply needing an art credit to graduate. When asked how much larger the class sizes are this year, she said, “About 5 students per class more than in usual years.” This does not seem like a very large increase but when you throw five extra bodies into a room with already limited space and equipment, such as the clay room, the opportunities students have to be successful in class begin to diminish exponentially.

Peter Colton, another art teacher, describes the difficulties of working with such large class sizes when he says, “It can become very difficult to control such a large group of students, especially when I am busy trying to teach individuals certain techniques. I just can’t keep an eye on everyone you know!” Colton sums up yet another major problem with the engorged classes quite well when he says, “It is hard to meet the individual needs of each student.”

“Due to schedule changes at the beginning of the semester, the class sizes aren’t nearly as large as they could have been.”

— Cari Nisi

“Layering assignments” and “making an extra effort” is how Nisi has been meeting the individual needs of each of her students this year. Nisi also said, “It can be hard to manage the art work and the supplies. In such a crowded room, accidents are prone to happen.” In this instance Nisi is referring to the countless number of clay sculptures that have been damaged due to over-crowding on the drying racks and a lack of discipline in the students. It is certainly easier to get away with damaging another students project when there are so many other potential suspects. No individual student feels like they should take the blame for any of these accidents.

Nisi’s third, and only other, art teaching colleague, Christina Weese, has only been at the high school a few months, she was moved due to budget cuts throughout the district, but it is apparent that she already feels right at home. When asked what she thought of Carey Nisi, Weese said, “She is super nice! Misses Nisi has helped me so much, especially with my photography class.” Although Nisi’s willingness to help may seem to be nothing more than an act of kindness, it masks an underlying issue: not enough teachers to help out with their students. If there was even one or two more art teachers, class sizes could drop by upwards of 30%.

The class sizes this year may seem large in retrospect to the class sizes of previous years but Nisi said, “Due to schedule changes at the beginning of the semester, the class sizes aren’t nearly as large as they could have been.”

“When I began teaching, 26 students was a huge class size, I dream of that number now,” added Nisi. She also said, “I don’t think there can be a change to make the classes any smaller. Part of this school’s philosophy states that students may pick their classes.” Students picking their own classes is a good thing overall but perhaps the classes should be more particular about who they accept and who they decline.

It is blatantly clear that Carey Nisi is a fully capable teacher and not even monstrous class sizes will be able to change that. Nisi and her colleagues certainly have some work ahead of them if the class sizes continue to grow but as long as they continue to address each student’s individual needs, they will certainly be able to handle it!