Leave the cookie cutters at home

There are so many different ways that kids learn, so many different ways teachers teach. It is a juggling act a lot of the time. Math is always the biggest hurdle. The art of balancing modelling and guided practice with individual practice and assessment. Will teaching one concept one way reach all my kids? No, I would say that has never happened. The trick is sorting out what is the best way to reach the largest amount of kids and then work with the smaller groups. Today I had a smaller group day and there was definitely some promise in the outcome but it still was not successful for every learner. Tomorrow I try something else with the ones struggling the most and see if we find the right approach for them.

The same should be said for behavioural expectations. How can we expect each child that we already know learns differently to fall in line with the same expectations that we have for their peers? To me it is a crazy idea. A few years ago I had a couple students that when pushed to the limit would respond with cursing and a chair thrown in my general direction. I learned from that experience pretty quick that I had to allow for a totally different plan and set of expectations for those students than I did the rest.

Every year we get kids in the classroom that might need more room to walk around while the lesson is going, or maybe a stroll down the hall, doodling in their books while a read aloud is happening. We make room for kids that need to learn differently we can not treat them all the same.

I think this goes for teachers as well. We all have different strengths and we should be taking advantage of those strengths the best we possibly can. We should not all teach the same because the less creativity we put into our instruction the less engaging it is going to be.

We must allow for individuality to be embraced. A greater learning will come from those able to explore what fascinates them and how best they learn.

Embracing what is unique can only build stronger learning communities.

One month in…the party has only just begun.

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