Growing up these were two words that I wasn’t allowed to say. It would have been extremely easy for me to say them too. “I can’t tie my shoes.” “I can’t swim.”
But I had a father that said, “You will, you’ll just have to work harder than everyone else.”I learned that for most obstacles that I face, I truly can do them if I work hard and think outside the box to make things happen. It may take more effort, it may be messy, it may look different, but I get it done!
It’s a lot like differentiating instruction for our students. We all agree that not all students learn the same way. Some are visual learners, some auditory. We all have the movers and shakers that just need to move and touch to learn best.
Unfortunately, at times we hear “I can’t” from teachers.
“I have a class of 30 students. They’re all over the place. I can’t possibly meet all their needs.”
“He just can’t keep up in my class.”
“I can’t change the curriculum. It’s what the students will be tested on.”
It’s true, meeting the needs of all our students is difficult, but it’s not about changing curriculum or trying to help someone keep up, it’s making the lesson accessible to the student where the student is at the current time. It’s going to be messy, it will look different, it will take a lot of time and a lot of effort, but it’s what we must do. Students will never be successful if don’t meet them where they are. We must embrace the “I can” attitude for the sake of our students.
It’s exciting to see educators embrace the “I Can” attitude. A perfect example is @ohawk04 & @JasonSavage22. These two rock star teachers worked together to allow students that would typically not work in the school store, and made it happen. They found ways to make it work. It may be messy, it may take extra effort, but every Friday, our school store is filled with smiling faces of students that CAN. They CAN help other students purchase t-shirts and snacks. They CAN use the cash register. They CAN because their teachers believed they could.I think back to my internship site last year when I was able to observe an English class. There were two teachers, the general education teacher and the intervention specialist. The students were in two groups and a group of us left and went to another room. Not being part of the staff I had no clue what teacher I was with. These teachers worked with all the students. They believed that all students CAN. They worked with students on IEPs, students identified as ELL, but as an outsider I didn’t know this until the end. These rock stars worked together to meet the needs of their students as they studied Shakespeare. Did it look different? Yes. Did it require extra planning and time? Yes. But it worked, and worked well!
Our students are worth the “I Can”. Roll up your sleeves and dig into messy!