Thea learns when she wants to. She creates her own homework when she wants to. And she gets it done when she wants to. She has almost been like this since she was born. Master of her own path and of her own time, So putting her in school, 4K, to be exact, has been interesting to say the least. She works hard in school, playing mostly, learning happens too (she has an amazing teacher) but she is carving her path at her own speed. Her personality staying true no matter what we try to do at home, no matter what she should be learning at a certain point in time. She doesn’t care about time lines of learning, she is on her own journey.
I wonder about my own students and those whose habits I try to change, am I on a wild goose chase? Are their habits already past changing or does that change have to come from within them with slight goading from me? How many times have I told a quiet child that they should speak up more, or a rowdy child that they should calm down? What about the child whose file shares a pattern of work not getting done, office referrals for miles, and grades to go with it? Can I truly change how they are as a person or only show them a better way and hope that they agree? Can I expect them to line up their achievements with what my curriculum map says thet should accomplish?
We talk about achievement in education as if we can just teach students something and expect them to be ready to learn it because of their age. Yet we seem to forget that we are working with human beings that don’t just change when someone tells them to, even if they are just a child being told what to do. We forget that even children have a sense of self and stay true to that unless the benefit to change is so great that they cannot resist. No matter how much I cajole Thea to learn her letters if she doesn’t want to, she won’t. No matter how much I sweet talk or tell her of the life consequences that will face her if she doesn’t. She will learn in her own time, as she always does, staying true to her personality along the way. Curious, creative, but all in her own time. Did I forget that my students are probably just like her?