I just read two blogs written by a teacher who I have interacted with in the past via twitter. She has incredible ideas and I love her spirit. I would never have guessed she had gone through some remarkable struggles during her career with support and having overcome such significant obstacles.
Pernille bravely wrote about an experience she had in her career where she was bullied by veteran teachers and weak leaders. While I have experienced some of the frustrating situations that she found herself dealing with, I can only imagine the difficulty of having all of them at once. Individually, having some frustrating circumstances where we may feel singled out or bullied, we can simply shrug it off, laugh at the absurdity of it all, and move forward. For a while, people believed I was somehow related to our boss because she seemed to like me. She did not always treat me favorably, and at times I felt treated unfairly just as anyone most likely will. The truth is, she did like me to some degree, not because I was related or because of some outside connection, but because of what I was doing in my classroom. But, despite hitting a tangent that I will be keeping, I digress.
The real purpose here was to say something about labeling differences. I am more than comfortable with giving different styles a name, being able to refer to them without a lengthy discourse. But, I am only accepting of that distinction in so much as we celebrate the value of differences. If labeling it helps you understand it, refer to it in some more efficient way, go for it. But, be comfortable with accepting differences and knowing that different kids need different things to learn. We should be adaptable as educators. Our job is not to force classrooms full of kids to adapt to us, but to change to meet their needs.
Different can be incredible, can be the savior for some kids. Sometimes different does not work. Regardless of how well it works, we should celebrate these differences. Let us treat them as an awesome thing that we can learn from, successful or not.