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Why I No Longer Believe in Grade Levels

It's a new day, dear readers. Know that I embraced every moment of my 12 year career in public education, even when things took a turn for the "Nope, I'm not going back to this" time period. As a veteran educator certified in gifted education, general education, special education, and trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach, I write to you with vast experience and realism. I'm not only certified in each area; I have taught in each area: gifted classes, general education classes, collaborative classes, and small group special education classes. I've also taught in low income and high income counties.

For the past year, I have been teaching individual students and small groups of students online throughout America from my home in my own small company. I also teach children in China through a large company I deem brilliant, VIPKid. This company is so brilliant, in fact, I need to dedicate an entire blog to how well they support teachers through both pay and scheduling. That blog is for another day.

Today's blog is about the metamorphosis of my belief system. I pray to release this metamorphosis into the culture of America.

Children are children, whether they are Chinese kiddos, American kiddos, or kiddos from Timbuktu. Children are all uniquely and beautifully made. No two children are alike. Whether I'm teaching an eight year old child in China, and I know that she loves leading every lesson herself showing me the ropes of the curriculum or when I have a student of the exact same age in China who learns from me word by word, slowly stated and then slowly and nervously repeated, I smile. I teach these children differently because they need different experiences in the classroom.

When I taught seventh grade social studies in a suburban, collaborative environment filled with special needs learners, gifted learners, and learners all across the board, I remember. I knew when Johnny pretended to understand, and I remember working with him one on one to help him work through his struggles privately during his favorite class, gym. Sheesh, I hated then that you missed gym class, and I hate it now. I remember Monica, a bright, frustrated student needing and craving a rapid, enlightening, challenging, and gamified experience when her class would have been petrified. I remember.