Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why We're Over the Word "Challenge"

Almost every year, KH comes down with strep. It's her achilles heel. If she's going to get sick, like full-on sick, it'll be strep ... every time. Last year, KH did not realize that she had strep so she was working in the classroom in that state you get in just before you realize that you're sick ... you know, the way you feel when you look back and think, "That's why I felt so weird." Anyway, in this strep induced cloud, KH had a strep induced genius thought and we're about to drop it on y'all ...

Every child needs a challenge.

You're welcome!

Ok, ok, ok ... let us explain ...

Do you ever find yourself using specific language just to appease a certain group of parents? We'd like think that we're above all of that ... that we tell it like it is ... but the truth is that we all do it. We want parents to trust us; we want them to believe that we have their child's best interests at heart and we're acting out of our extensive knowledge and experience base to meet the unique needs of their child. And many do hand us this trust and this professional respect buuuuuuuuuuut there are always a few who do not and we find ourselves, often subconsciously, changing our language and our presentation in order to convince them of this. One of the ways we do this is by throwing around the word "challenge", particularly to parents who are very concerned that their child is bright and they are not being, well, challenged.

"Your child is ready for a challenge ..."
"We will be challenging your child by ..."
"We are working on the challenging work of ..."

You get the idea.

But the truth is ... every child needs a challenge. Actually, scratch that:

Every child needs deserves a challenge.

That's our job, really ... right? Challenge exists in the area between what I can do and what I am just about to be able to do. It's the wilderness where learning occurs. Challenge might look different for every child based on their individual needs and learning trajectory, but if it's stretching you, if it's pushing you, if you're learning then it's a challenge. So that's why we're going to stop throwing the word challenge around like a prize to be held by certain students. Every child deserves a challenge and that's what we're about.

Okay, thanks for listening. We'll get off our high horse now :)

From the limb,

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