Many times, teachers can’t wait until they obtain seniority and are rewarded with a class of what I call “racehorses,” or students who dart out of the gate and don’t stop until they reach the Triple Crown. While hopes and dreams of having this type of class base may not come for years, future CEOs, inventors and other stars are overlooked.
When I hear teachers describing students using phrases such as, “He’s a really good kid,” “She always does what she is asked,” or “I know he can do better”, these are traits of a future CEO. Many times these so-called average, nice children stagnate and don’t recognize their potential or know how to put it in motion.
All students must be challenged to think deep, not just the racers. The average student sits with unleashed potential, not knowing how to start or where to go. This is where teachers and parents can literally change a life for the better.
Teachers and parents know high-level thinkers were born with drive, so they are challenged to maintain a good pace so they don’t burn out or lose sight of goals. Low-level learners quickly capture the heart of teachers demanding attention. It is natural for teachers to be drawn to strugglers, giving them an opportunity to help, which drew them to teach in the first place.
Though not intentional, the combination above can result in the average student being overlooked due to his or her own quiet, non-disruptive personality. This yields a student left unchallenged.
Alleviating the average student from stagnating can easily be diminished with a couple of suggestions for teachers.
- Utilize all teaching concepts, including techniques for the visual, kinesthetic and auditory learner. The internet provides ample materials such as lesson plans, activities, videos and more. You will always have different types of learners, even if you have all racehorses, average or strugglers.
- If something doesn’t stick, address it again later. Apply it in a future lesson to show how it fits into what has been a mysterious journey to them. Some have to see the entire map. Once they see where they are going, learning will begin to make sense and they will enjoy the journey.
A key essential to finding their style is teacher-parent communication. A simple email, not just when the going gets tough but instead when there are things to be commended, can go a long way. Whether you are a teacher or parent, nothing motivates like praise.
In a classroom, no matter the make-up of students, it’s a daunting task to reach all levels and learning styles. Focus on students to identify their own learning style. This knowledge will help academically, but more importantly, it becomes an asset throughout all aspects of their life and career.
Brenda Crenshaw, who is the owner of Crenshaw School, taught rising film, television and music stars for a New York company. Her out-of-the-box style of teaching led to her “family style” school for all.