While watching the march-past (perhaps these days more of a walk past) of the athletes at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London, the countries reminded me of students in a classroom. Each country has its specialty – Ethiopia in distance events, Ghana in boxing, Guam in wrestling, the multi talented Australian team in many fields of sport. The look of pride on the face of the flag bearers, the pinnacle alongside the gold medal, says it all.
There are countries that have yet to win a medal, marching along with countries that have won many. There are countries like Greece dealing with financial challenges at home and countries like Egypt with recent political upheaval. They all come with that same sense of pride at representing their country.
There are many who have overcome such difficulties in their personal lives to get to where they are today.
Each child comes to the classroom with a specialty. Joseph for being a kind and gentle boy; Wendy is good at maths and science; Jason specialises in manipulating and controlling others.
That sense of pride is evident in the faces of these students as they begin to achieve something productive. Some are yet to achieve that ‘medal’. Perhaps that ‘medal’ is being able to read well, or solve mathematical problems, or managing in difficult situations. Perhaps it might be getting along with others without resorting to power-over.
The preparation, the support from home is not always there for some children. It is easy to blame parents for this, but this does not mean that they cannot achieve the results of others at schools. It doesn’t take a special teacher to be able to reach and extend some children who do not learn in the same way on the same day. That is our job. Meeting the needs of students and taking them from where they are to what they can become; successful, medal winning, vibrant learners
Just like champions in the world of sport, we need to believe that every child is a champion and that they can achieve, given the right opportunities. In a classroom that values and teaches harmony, friendship, respect and fair play every student can succeed.