Between the cold weather and the ongoing pandemic there wasn’t much to do but hang out in the house this past weekend. Over the last year we’ve found ourselves hanging out around the house a lot and because of that we’ve also spent a lot of time on Facetime connecting with family and friends. This past weekend both Amy and I connected with some of our best friends and compared parenting stories. One of my best friends had his first child about three months before Clayton was born and Amy’s best friend’s second child is only four days older than Clayton. We did what new parents do and compared notes, re-lived milestones together, and shared tips with each other. Something that struck me after talking with both of our friends was how different all of our kids were. Even given a difference of only four days, the milestones and other “achievements” of the last six months were all very different!
I was thinking about the differences between the three kids when I started watching the Super Bowl preview shows and listening to the analysts talk about all of the different “weapons” on each of the teams. They were going through a rather in depth analysis of what it took to plan for each of these “special” players. As a wounded Packers fan I eventually tuned them out and began thinking about how all of this compared to being a teacher. Teachers really are similar to professional sports coaches in a lot of ways. Just as coaches have to game plan, teachers have to think about each student, their strengths and weaknesses, and plan to take advantage of their strengths and work to support them in their areas of weakness.
While teachers are similar to professional sports coaches in a lot of ways, there is one big difference – teachers aren’t coaching the most elite students in the world. Just as I realized when Amy and I spoke with our friends this weekend, every child is very different and they all develop in very different ways. Teachers need to prepare for students who have a wide variety of skills, resources, and backgrounds. Some students are on grade level while others are somewhere above or below grade level. Differentiating to meet the needs of a classroom full of students is much, much harder than game planning for Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes!
The Super Bowl is great entertainment and I’m thankful for the distraction. However, I’m 1000 times more thankful for all of the planning, practice, and coaching that you do for and with our students every single day. We’ve all been through the craziest year imaginable and things are about to get a lot more interesting. With you at the helm, however, I’m confident that each and everyone of our students will have success. No matter what their strengths or weaknesses, when they reach certain milestones, or if they’re remote or in-person, I know that you’ll meet them at their levels and help them to grow and meet their goals!!
Thank you for preparing for a Super Bowl each and every day!!