Give me that quirky kid any day… the one who learns differently; the one who is impulsive and quick moving; who drives you crazy with outspoken unfiltered comments; the one who steps on toes, bumps into others, makes a mess of materials and papers; the one who doesn’t complete assignments but whose vocabulary is sprinkled with words like intrepid and adverse; the one whose divergent spontaneous thinking hints at—a deeper insight or understanding—maybe even a sense of raw and primitive brilliance. This is the 2:00 a.m. kid, the one causing restless nights and dark circles under your eyes forcing you to generate yet another idea of how to make that round chip fit in a square box.
For it is this student that stretches your knowledge requiring you to research how to meet the needs of the abnormal learner. It’s easy to teach the high achieving hard workers—those students who show grit and determination and are always at your desk making sure they are going beyond expectations. They don’t even need a teacher. Give them a syllabus, a list of goals, objectives and resources and assessment rubrics. And in a whipstitch, their final project is complete and used as that model for success and achievement.
But this divergent kid, the one causing the grey hairs and the aching head—this is the one who claws at your awareness. This is the one you want to trace through the stages of growing up. And while you may never know the impact you made, internally, you understand that with that child, you made a difference.
Written by Judy Fisher