Handle the following situations:
You are trying to teach 26 first-graders how to read. Some are already proficient. Others can’t even recognize simple three- or four-letter words like “and,” “the” or “from”—-and have no desire to learn.
How do you challenge the better readers without losing the beginners. One more thing: Many of your poor readers come from families where the parents barely speak English.
You are trying to teach the same group to count using coins. Some children already know how to count. Others don’t even know the value of a dime and are unable to grasp the concept that it, even though smaller than a nickel, is worth more. How do you challenge the better students without losing the poorer students?
You are trying to teach, but one of your children won’t focus and is disrupting class. You find out she is hungry. You learn she didn’t eat breakfast because she was too busy playing Nintendo and her mother was too busy getting ready for work to notice?
Do you let her stay hungry to teach her a lesson, even though she won’t learn and may continue to cause problems? But if you feed her, what do you tell the other 25 students who wonder why they aren’t getting a snack too?
These are just some of the challenges my wife faces as a school teacher. She teaches first graders.
She’s not alone in this regard, of course. All teachers deal with similar issues.
So the next time you feel you are qualified to criticize a teacher’s ability to teach because you are able to teach your children to read or add numbers, don’t. Unless, of course, you have 26 kids. Then it’s ok.