As a K&E teacher I often hear comments such as “Oh I don’t know how you do it with those kids”, “Oh you’re so good with those kinds of kids” or “I could never teach those kids”. I have never really thought too much about these kinds of remarks, until I was asked to speak to some of my colleagues about what the differences are between the K&E students and the ‘regular’ students in learning and teaching.
Teaching K&E students is a true passion of mine. They are kinesthetic learners who often take things very literally and who, even more often, are very forthright about what they like or don’t like. I enjoy their honesty and learn everyday what I may be doing wrong, as they are quick to point it out. I have learned that building a foundation of trust with them is paramount to any success I may have with them. Through these amazing students I have learned just how much patience I do have, how easy going I need to be and just how strict I have to be to show fairness and respect. They help me hone the skill of thinking quickly as they regularly question the necessity of much of the curriculum in their everyday lives. I have come to accept that much of the true learning and understanding occurs outside of curricular outcomes and I have learned to embrace this. The students keep me grounded as they often tell me they’re “keeping it real Ms. Boyd”.
These learners are inquisitive, imaginative and authentic. My teaching, and life, is truly enriched by being a part of their educational journeys. I cannot imagine it any other way.
Deb Boyd currently teaches gr 8 & 9 K&E ELA and Humanities at Clarence Sansom School. She has a passion for steeped tea, reading and all things Wonder Woman.