Sunday, July 5, 2009

outside the think tank

On my "Hike Colorado By Day but Eat, Drink and Sleep in Nice Places By Night" tour I met a couple of parents who have children with special needs. As I listened to them talk about their struggles with teachers and how they watched their children begin to like school less and less I'd find myself offering suggestions for what the teachers could try with their child (I know! I couldn't help it- I don't know the kid, I could be making it worse!). The parents would throw their hands in the air, or bang on the table, saying, "EXACTLY! We just wanted the school to listen to who our child is!"

Trust me, I know that we can't modify our instruction to meet every child's needs, but my suggestions were small- ones that at my school we'd do for any child, without thinking twice. The idea of trying to force a square kid into a round hole sounds painful for everyone involved- the teacher, the parents, the other students, and especially for the child.

I love that I work in a think-tank- where it's not about any one person being a better teacher, or having perfect lessons. It's about putting our heads together to find the right solutions-as a team- for our students. I love the creativity we get to have on the job- how working together with the "well, what if..." allows us to try new ways of looking at our kids and our teaching. Our parents have complaints about us- they wouldn't be human not to- but I have never heard them complain that we aren't working hard enough for their child, or that we don't know their child.

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