… I said to one of their teachers.
I recalled this incident this morning while reading about differentiated teaching, and reflecting on how difficult it must be. Years ago, my younger boy’s teacher had dropped into our store (you gotta love small towns) to chat with me. She wanted to discuss strategies to help us get my eight-year-old to better organize himself.
Very much like his mother, the lad tended to trail a string of belongings behind him. He had tried mightily to “remember to collect my stuff,” but to little avail.
His older brother had been uber-organized… since birth. At age 4, the senior Comfort sibling could stage-manage exiting the house thus: “Mom, your car keys are in the car – where you left them last night,” he’d direct in a calm assertive voice.
“Dad, your glasses are on top of the fridge. Can we get this show on the road, I have been ready for 20 minutes and we are going to be late!”
I told this anecdote to the teacher and followed with: “It’s almost like they are two completely different people.” CLANG.
As I heard my own words, I tried to inhale them back into my mouth. The incredulous look on the teacher’s face was a treat.
Differentiated perspectives must be in place for differentiated teaching/learning to take place. The teacher has the mandated curriculum to get through in a limited time period. To impart it to the students in ways that address the unique personalities and learning styles of each child is a complex and demanding task – herculean, I dare say. This 30-second PSA launched by the Alberta Teacher’s Association gives a lighter look at diverse classroom personalities.
Teachers must be provided with support from administration and the School Board in the provision of resources, ongoing professional development and collaboration with their peers so that they may refine and maximize their practice. The more teachers manage to teach to each individual student, the stronger and more authentic will be the relationships that are formed… and the greater will be the success of those children.
In my opinion, excellent teachers are champions and heroes.