When students walk through the door of the school we tend to put them into a mold. We push them. We stuff them. We stand on the mold hoping to make it fit. Even if the mold won’t close completely if we can just get them close to fitting we can make it work.
But…. all students don’t fit the mold. They all have their own mold. The mold life has given them. The mold that we have to work with. A mold that doesn’t resemble ours. The mold we grew up with. The mold that we are used to. The mold that makes our job easy, because its the one we are comfortable working in.
And… then you have to work with the mold that is full of bricks.
All students come to school with bricks in their backpacks. Some students have one brick and other students have many bricks. We then ask them to drop their bricks and start learning. Learning the way we teach. The way we are comfortable, but they can’t drop the bricks they just hold onto them as we add more.
But the bricks….
What are the bricks?
The bricks are all the “stuff” a kiddo deals with that we have no idea even exists.
Its the cold house because there is no heat.
Its the hope that when they get home there will be food on the table.
Its the way they have to be mom and dad.
Its that they sit alone at the table during lunch.
Its the test that they failed that they really did study hard for, still didn’t pass, and no one believes them.
Its the words spoken to them just before they walk into your class.
Its the way they are trying to figure out life and things just don’t seem to be fitting into place.
It is their insecurities.
The bricks are the “excuses” we don’t want to hear, but they scream at us through data and grades.
What can we do as educators? We can help them carry their bricks. We can lighten their load while still keeping high expectations.
How? Take them out of the mold. Work with them where they are. Work with them not against them. Find out how they learn and change your way of teaching to help them understand and a brick will be lifted. Make your room a room where mistakes happen and are ok because it means we are learning. Make your room a place where they run to it because they know you are on their team. Make your room the one classroom that they don’t even remember they have bricks.
We as educators need to carry their bricks for them. We need to hold them from 8:00 to 3:30 letting them feel free. Free to learn. Free to be a kid. Free to become what they want to be not what their journey has set them up to be.
As the new semester starts in a few days take a brick from your students and replace it with wings, and watch them soar. They will begin to create their own path building it with the bricks that use to hold them down!