A couple of weeks ago, I spend a week in professional development training for a couple pieces of software I’ll be using with students this fall. On the last day, we were able to take exams to become certified users of the software. And from my experience this week and with the exams, I’ve realized once again who I am in your classroom.
I’m *that* kid!
You know the one I’m talking about. As students, we all knew of one or two of these kids in our classes. As teachers, we see them every year.
That kid who you watch pick up new concepts in the blink of an eye.
That kid who sees once and remembers forever.
That kid who always seems two steps ahead of the rest of the class.
That kid who barely studies, races through a test, and gets good marks.
I’m *that* kid.
During my week at PD, I’ve also seen what it’s like to not be *that* kid. I saw the struggles for people when things don’t come easily. I saw people take different approaches to learning. And I remembered that all of these students are in our classrooms.
A lot of times we focus on the struggling learners or the average learners in the class. I understand, and I’ve done that, too. However, the opportunity for learning needs to be afforded to all students in our classrooms. Challenging *that* kid
can be is a challenge. However, I think it’s just as important to push *that* kid as it is all the others in our classrooms. Plus it would benefit the entire class to see *that* kid find an appropriate struggle. The other students in the class wouldn’t feel inadequate, and they would see that struggle is necessary for growth and learning.
Why do we need to challenge *that* kid? Because one day in the future, *that* kid won’t be *that* kid anymore. They will meet a true challenge, and whether or not they are successful depends on past experiences. This lesson is easier to learn early in your school career. In my sixth grade gifted science classroom, I often found my students in their first grips with struggle. In my experience, I have found that the students who adapt to middle school the easiest are the ones who have had to struggle and learned to be successful in the past. Learning to persevere through struggle may be even more important than the learning objective.
So please, don’t forget *that* kid in your class. I promise he or she wants to be challenged, too. (Although they might not know it yet!) You can trust me on this because
I’m *that* kid.
(Except in college organic chemistry, and I wish I’d experienced the struggle sooner.)