Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Why Personalize?

We get asked often: "Is it worth it?" "Would you ever go back to a traditional classroom?" Isn't it just so much work?" And, truly the answer is: This is the best work of our careers, and we would never go back to a traditional classroom. It is WORTH every minute, every drip of sweat, every ounce of stress. Why?? I'll answer with a story.

Meet one of our students. For the sake of anonymity, we'll call him "Jay." Meet Jay.
When we met "Jay" during our first week of 4th grade, we knew he was smart. He was a good student. He "played" school really well, and had every year prior to us.

We start every school year with a variety of team building activities. These are critical in the development of our culture and climate. These tell us so much more about the kids in front of us than any test score could. We use these as building blocks for our time together and how our classroom runs.

During a particularly challenging activity (Spaghetti and marshmallow towers), "Jay" completely shut down. His group was "failing," and so he stopped trying. He put his head down and refused to go any further. At one point during those first few weeks, he said "Can't you just give me a worksheet??" No, Jay, we can't, nor would we.

What will we do instead? We will personalize the learning you receive. We will push you to places that might make you uncomfortable. We will work on not only your academics, but also your soft skills. We will teach you that "failing forward" is a much better option than shutting down. We will instill confidence in you. We will believe in you. We will help you believe more in yourself. 

Flash-forward to almost two years later. "Jay" is teaching his peers in this picture. Jay has taken on the entire 8th grade curriculum in math--by his own choosing, and will be starting high school math as a 6th grader next year. Jay now seeks out challenges that frustrate him. Jay now has confidence to the point where failure does not frighten him. He has empathy for his peers. He holds his head up high. Jay is proud of who he is as a learner.

And we couldn't be more proud of him.

That is just one reason of a thousand of why we personalize. Why is your WHY? We would love to learn with you.



  1. Thank you for sharing the real story and helping us all know - it takes time, but you have to stick with it for results. You also show very well how teaching today is not about content as much as it is about enabling and empowering the learner inside each student to tap their full potential. Teaching how to learn. Kudos!

    1. Thanks, Kathy, for your kind words! We are so thankful to get to do what we do each day!