I'd like to believe I'm not a classroom drive-by shooter. The one who teaches in a way that resembles speedily driving by, shooting as many random bullets as possible, and hoping to hit something, like that "average" student, for example. I don't want to be that teacher, which is why I love the workshop model, providing strategies, allowing kids time and space to work independently, nudging learners while conferring, pulling small groups together to work on strategies, etc.
Unfortunately, I can think of students, even from this past year, who were outliers of sorts for some reason or another. I can list off their names and see their little faces. I know I didn't reach them in the way they deserved. They developed new skills and attitudes during our months together, but they could have blossomed even more, and this pains me.
This week I was provided the opportunity of watching a Ted Talk entitled The Myth of Average. The 18 minutes spent with this video were some of my favorite of the week. Honestly, the message is not necessarily a new one, but it's packaged so expertly and meaningfully that it won't leave me alone. I hope it continues to nag at me as I step into my classroom for the first time next week, as I begin to prepare for a new crew of kiddos, and as I think about repeatedly shooting every single one of my children straight in the heart each day they spend with me.
Please allow yourself 18 minutes to watch this video. It will leave an impact that will launch you into a new year with students who are not average.