When I reflect on my teaching, I strive to be the teacher I would want for my own children. That's been my motivation daily as I walk into the building. Some days, I succeed. Other days, I miss the mark. But, it's an endeavor that I always work towards.
I've thought a lot about passion and finding what drives my students. Through learning inventories, conferences, and other resources, I find out the individual differences of my students to move them on their own learning path. Some are book smart. Others are technology smart. Others are building and artistic smart. But, they are all smart in their own way.
This past week, I volunteered to teach at my church for Vacation Bible School. My friend Debbie and I teach a kindergarten class every year, and like your classroom at school, we never know the dynamics we will have. This year, we had a wonderful class with a friend named J.
J has not had successful years previous. His teachers before never understood J and what made him J.(Similar to what happens in our schools.) Throughout the week, we brought koosh balls, stringy toys, plush Nemos, pipe cleaners, and other items to keep him occupied during unstructured times. We even gave him his own circle to run in as long as he stayed in the circle.
These little "tools" made the difference for J. Not every tool worked everyday, nor does every strategy work for every student. But, as we gather more tools and strategies, we can find that one idea that will light the fire within our students like J.
J had a wonderful week. His parents were filled with gratitude and emotion that we "got" J and knew what he needed. On the last day, J was filled with sadness and tears and he made a mark on our hearts as well.
“If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”