Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Einsteins in my classroom

Yesterday I visited OMSI. (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) The visiting exhibit was all about Albert Einstein. While I'm aware of many of his theories and scientific contribution, I really didn't know anything about his childhood. It amazed me to learn that he was not considered a "good student" in school. He really understood Math and Science (that's not a surprise) and he got good grades, but he had a real behavior problem in class. He was a "dreamer" and didn't participate with the other students, he questioned authority, questioned what he was being taught, and was prone to tantrums in his earlier school years.

That got me thinking. Did his teachers even have a clue as to the contributions that he would bring to the world? More importantly, what of the students in my class? Could one of these children be the next Einstein? Steve Jobs? Bill Gates? The list goes on. What greatness lies in the midst of these children?

I think of my students that are my most "challenging" and am reminded how much we need to inspire, engage and allow students to love the learning process. No one should have to "survive" school. So this year, as we make those preparations to return to the classroom, I am reminding myself of the wide variety of talents, gifts, and personalities in my classroom. Those challenges we face have greatness in them. How can we help students find it, harness it, and see how far it will take them? All without squashing their love of learning due to tight schedules, testing, curriculum mandates, etc.