My wife is not an educator, check that, not a teacher, check that, she does not work in the field of education, so she works in the summer and I get to spend a lot of time with my kids. It is awesome (except when they argue) and I know when they are older, I will look back fondly on these formative summers, so I try to appreciate every day (which is hard when they argue). Over the past couple of weeks I have learned a lot from my kids, watching them interact, play and learn.
This will be the fist in a series about what I learned from my kids this summer.
My wife and I were lucky enough to be blessed with twins 8 (wow!) years ago. I absolutely love my kids and am so proud of them. It’s funny, even though they are best buddies (most of the time, except when they argue) they are very different…and I just don’t mean gender.
They are different in so many ways. On one hand my Alyssa can play, read, draw quietly by herself for extended periods of time. She was the first to read and is beginning to really power through chapter books. Jacob, not so much, he NEEDS to be active. All he wants to do is play and play with somebody. He will play sports all day long, you name it and he’s in. In fact, I have started referring to him as “I’m in”. He can sit and read, but he would NEVER choose to do so.
Jacob is the epitome of compliant. He does not like to get in trouble and we can always count on him to tell on his sister (something I hope lasts well into adolescence). Alyssa, she is strong-willed and will question everything, a good trait for sure, except when negotiating a summer bedtime.
What does this mean in a classroom. On one hand, I can’t imagine my son in a classroom where he is expected to sit still and be quiet all day (thankfully, they have had wonderful teachers every year). He would do it because he is compliant and that is what is expected, but he wouldn’t enjoy it. Ultimately, his love of recess and lunch would only take him so far before he started to disengage with school.
My son is not atypical of many boys. How do we as educators meet their needs?
Alyssa on the other hand, is easily bored and does not invest in things she is not interested in – strong will. I worry the same for her. She will sit and quietly do the work she is supposed to do, but her voice will be important. If educators do not give her a voice, I worry that she to could disengage because school is not meeting her needs.
My daughter is not atypical of many girls. How do we as educators meet their needs?
My children are not atypical, nor are they typical. They are in a class with 20+ other kids, who have some similar, but many varying needs. I wonder/worry about how effectively we are meeting their needs. I sometimes wonder if it is even possible. While I don’t have the answers, I know the movement towards Personalized Learning will help.
I hope for the sake of my kids (and everyone’s) that we as educators continue to search for innovative ways to meet the needs of ALL learners in our schools.