I stumbled across this video a few weeks ago, Dear Teacher: Heartfelt Advice for Teachers from Students. In this video, adorable young students with learning disabilities talk about their struggles in the classroom. It’s so short and so simple, but so impacting.
After only watching once, the words stuck with me. Being in a middle school classroom, I see learners around (or slightly older) than the ages pictured in the video. As the young boys and girls in the clip talked openly about their inability to follow too many directions when given them all at once, or the fact they might need to doodle to stay focused, I found myself realizing all the ways I can be biased towards individuals with learning disabilities without even meaning to.
My perception prior to student teaching, and in some ways even prior to seeing this video, was that students with less severe learning disabilities could be and should be held to the same expectations as a regular classroom. This video showed me that somethings that’s not only impossible, but also unfair.
This video forced me to take a step back and learn how my students learn. It made me realize the importance teaching in multiple ways and being aware of all students needs, strengths/weaknesses, and goals.
I think this video is a challenge for all teachers—Are we accommodating for these individuals? Are we creating learning environments that promote and stimulate growth? Are we challenging these students, but also making sure they are successful and not frustrated? It’s definitely something to watch and ponder.