Friday, September 4, 2015

Writing the Right Prescriptions

Back in my youth I was a star field hockey player.  During my senior year of high school there was a whooping cough outbreak among the student-athletes and as a precaution, we had to show proof that we were taking an antibiotic in order to attend school.  I remember that the pills we were prescribed were about the size of my thumb and made me absolutely sick.

I called my doctor to report that I was suffering severe side effects from the medication and asked to be prescribed another antibiotic.  He was absolutely perplexed as he had prescribed the same medication to over a dozen other student-athletes and none of them had reported similar side effects.  He told me that I was a unique case and that he would get back to me.  In the end, I was successfully prescribed a new medication.

I tell you this story because it reminds me that like doctors, teachers work with unique individuals.  Just like the whooping cough prescription, some teaching methods may work for many students, but not all.  As we begin to meet our students and learn what makes them unique, we must search for the right prescriptions.  While we hope that our students will not become violently ill from our methods, there will be "side effects" to look out for, such as frustration, confusion and loss of a joy for learning.  Of course as we get the prescriptions right, we will see the "side effects" that we happily get out of bed each morning to witness, such as success, happiness and the desire to dream big.  Good luck to you all as you begin the new school year.  May it be the best school year yet.

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