Teacher Does The Right Thing By Treating Student Differently

I read an excellent article that I want to share with you. Views: World’s Greatest Teacher. “A best-selling author goes back to his high school to thank the person who first encouraged him to write.”

This is what I love about this one-page article and this teacher: it’s a very good example of how one teacher successfully practiced differentiation in her classroom.  She was executing differentiation before the term “differentiation” was used by educators. She realized she had an advanced writer in her regular writing class.  She accommodated for his needs. She focused on what the student needed, not on what the class curriculum dictated.

What the teacher didn’t say:

  • “Oh well, the review will be good for you.”
  • “Maybe you can help me tutor some other children who need more help.”
  • “If this is going too slow for you, I can give you MORE work in addition to what the other students are doing.”
  • “This is a regular level class and this is how I teach this class. I can’t change for one student.”
  • “Well, this will be an easy A for you. You won’t have to work hard.”
  • “Why don’t you read a book or do some other homework during class?”
  • “I don’t have the time to help you.  But you already know it, so you’re lucky. You’ll be fine.”

The BIG difference is that this teacher gave her student DIFFERENT work, not MORE work.  She met him where he was in his writing skills and took him forward from there.  She was looking for talent and she knew that even advanced students need support and challenge. She encouraged this student to push himself, not to bide his time in her class.

And she did all this because it was the right thing to do!

The student is Brad Meltzer, today a prolific, well-known author. The teacher is the now-retired Shelia Spicer. If you like the article Views: World’s Greatest Teacher, please circulate it to other teachers and administrators so they, too, can do the right thing.

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