Amongst all the faces in our classes each year, there are many general “types” of kids. But there are two we all have every single year. And we likely have more than than one of each kind. I’d wager to say that in fact, if you’ve taught more than one year, you’ll see faces that you can name the instant I mention each of the types of kids I have in mind for this post.
So what are those two types of kids? (are you ready?)
Every year, in every class we have the kid whose family provides amazing learning resources and support for learning and we also have the kid who has had no one in her life to support her with resources, or to even support her emotionally to be a learner.
Remember those kids? Did you picture a kid’s face from each type? Maybe you’re even picturing the kids in your classroom right now.
In every single classroom, in every single school, in every single town, we have both of those kids. And it almost seems unfair to have them in the same room, expecting them to achieve the same levels of learning, knowing one has a wonderful support team behind her and the other is all alone, isolated from the joy of learning, once she leaves your classroom.
I know. I had them every single year too, no matter where I was teaching. And I loved them all. Still do. As I go back, year by year in my memory, I can pick out at least one kid of each type, in every single class. And I know that I did what I could, but some years, for some kids, I’m not sure I did enough. And my heart breaks.
Because in my experience, these kids had begun to feel that they aren’t as smart and that they aren’t as good as the other type of kid. That they aren’t as worthy of attention, of love, of their dreams, of … themselves. It kills me to think of it. They’re already predicting their own failure and it’s not even their fault.
Wouldn’t it be nice to level the playing field, just for one moment? To let that unsupported kid be”the one in the know? For her to be the rockstar of the moment? Wouldn’t it be great to see her proud face as she becomes the one bringing the new information, the new technology tool, or the bigger ideas to the table? To be there the moment that she recognizes that she truly is just as bright as anyone else in the room?
I’d do anything to go back in time and give exactly that moment to those kids… But I don’t have a magic wand.
So what about today? Sure we don’t have a wand that turns back time (yet), so we have to look at the kids in our rooms now.
Have you ever considered pulling your student to the side for just a moment, whispering in her ear, teaching her something the class will be exploring soon, and letting her dig deep and learn before you bring it up with the rest of the class? To let her run for a moment, ahead of the others, free to gather all the best flowers of knowledge first, and then let her bring that learning back to the rest of the students? To help her see that she can be the expert in the room?
What would that be worth to you to be able to do that?
What would it be worth to her?
What would it be worth to the class community?
Why can’t we you do that tomorrow?