ST. ALBANS — This year, Bellows Free Academy’s student body grew from 845 to 926, increasing by a whopping 9.6 percent, according to Theresa Callan, executive assistant to Principal Brett Blanchard.
This sizable increase has led to larger class sizes for departments such as English and physical education and has affected classes in numerous different ways.
“Instead of looking at a class of, say, 20-25, you’re looking at a class of like 38,” Shawn Lefebvre, a physical education teacher at BFA, said.
With the influx of students, educating a class has become increasingly difficult for some teachers.
“It affects basically our overall curriculum,” Lefebvre said.
For some teachers, such as Lefebvre, the growing student body has led to an increase in unruliness and loss of focus in class. This is particularly true for the physical education department, which is tasked with unleashing students’ energy in a structured and disciplined format.
“It’s becoming more of managing the students, and behaviors, then actually potentially teaching the curriculum that we want to do,” Lefebvre said.
On the other hand, some teachers are experiencing an increased workload rather than discipline issues. This is especially true for Keith Carlton, head of BFA’s English department, who had to take on an extra class this year due to the increase in students.
“The…new class I took on is my fourth prep, meaning I have to teach five classes, but four of them are different,” Carlton said.
This extra class has caused time constraints for Carlton, but he is determined to keep his quality of education high.
“I don’t plan on altering [the classes]…I just plan on making sure I manage my time as easily as possible,” Carlton said.
Rest assured, teachers like Carlton and Lefebvre are trying their hardest. As such, it is important for students to be understanding about the situation.
“I think, if I could say [something] to my classes right now, I would ask them just to be patient with our department because I know kids get frustrated,” Lefebvre said.
Editor's Note: A version of this story first appeared in The Mercury, the student-run newspaper at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans. Jacob Holmes is a BFA student and Mercury staff writer. Follow The Mercury on Instagram and on Facebook.