This last weekend I had the privilege of attending the Academy for G.O.D.’s performance night. I anticipated the event, wondering how my children, 8 and 6 years old, would perform. But, more than that, I knew there would be unique twists and turns to the evening’s routines. I know the headmaster, I know the administration, and I know they shoot for excellence in all things.
Levi’s class was singing a song in Spanish. Levi is non-verbal. I had no question they’d find a way for him to participate.
My daughter’s kindergarten chose to perform jokes. Hilariously cheesy stuff like, “What’s the scariest tree in the jungle?”…”Bam…BOO”.
In fact, each class presented in a way that displayed their collective personality, and certainly the personality of their teachers. There were instrumental guitar performances, live readings from a student written story, a parent/student trivia game show, songs in Swahili and Spanish, one acts, student bands with original numbers, and more.
The diversity of performance style was refreshing. It illustrated the varying types of the intelligence developing in students at the Academy. Some musical, others linguistic, others interpersonal, or kinesthetic.
What struck me? A bunch of students who don’t perform very often looking confident and comfortable on the stage. Why? I suspect it was, at least in part, because they were given an opportunity to do something that reflected their growing interest and skill.
While Michelle and I knew Levi would need some individualized attention at the Academy because of his developmental delays (more on that here), it’s something each student receives in such empowering ways.
Students are exposed to many different activities and fields, over time they learn that they have certain proclivities, certain interests, certain things they understand faster than other things, things they feel passionate about and things they would just as soon never do again.
Broadly, unfortunately, education does not work like this. Students are not always given this sort of individualized attention or support. They are not treated as unique. And so often it is less the fault of the educator and more the fault of a broken educational system in which students and teachers exist. There’s not enough time, not enough resources or support, not enough personnel to guide students in some of the most impressionable years of their development. Teachers are tired.
Performance night made me thankful, and it helped me to see the life-giving benefits to a different approach to education. These kids deserve it, and they’ll be better adults for it. Thank you teachers, wherever you teach, for giving yourself everyday.
As for Levi, he played the drums and a friend held up a microphone to his talker while he talked about how to say ‘peace’ in Spanish. It wasn’t perfect, but man was it perfect.