Letter to the Editors: Teacher’s view on overflow classes

I am pleased to see the article, Students cause Overflow in Classes, in the March 2 issue of The Skyline View.

I’d like to offer an assessment from a faculty member’s point of view. First, I do agree with the author of the article, that this is an issue that has consistently plagued us over the past years.

I’ve taught at Skyline for the past 27 years; 10 years as adjunct faculty and 17 years as a full time faculty member. I teach History 201 and 202, which are continually overflowing with students. Both courses are able to satisfy the AH & I requirement for graduation and transfer. This spring, we offered eight sections of History 201 and five sections of History 202. I am currently teaching two sections of 201 and one section of 202. My History 201 sections are not only filled with 45 and 49 students respectively, I had to turn away more than 30 students who were on wait lists in both classes.

Turning down students is an excruciatingly difficult thing to do. As the article mentioned, my being unable to accept them into an overflowing class may be the reason why they cannot finish their requirements on time. I agree with the writer that, ”there is nothing worse than starting the semester with an overflowing class, and before you know it, a month later only half of the students attend regularly.”

Extending the add date is not the answer. I, and a fair amount of my colleagues, already feel that the add date is too lenient. I have students trying to add the class two weeks into the semester and they’ve already missed one or two assignments. As the writer says, “don’t wait until the last minute to register. Plan for classes accordingly.” Historically, more students who register late fail the class than those who are registered and ready to go on the first day.

My other pet peeve are the students who are repeating my classes, some for the third time who sign up and then attend sporadically. Absences is what got many of them in trouble in the first place. If they were more aware, they would realize that their taking a seat in a class in high demand, then blowing it off is being selfish.

I commend [The Skyline] View for addressing this nagging issue. Planning may not always be feasible for a few students. However, if the majority of students took the time to come up with a plan, the system would work much better.

Rosie Bell
History Professor at Skyline