In my February blog post, I mentioned that differentiation is not synonymous with individualized instruction. At the same time, one way we differentiate as educators is to consider the individual in many different ways. Chapel Talks at Powhatan, which just concluded, are such a great example of differentiation based on interest. Our eighth grade students stand in front of the school community and share a passion in a thoughtful and practiced way. More than simply sharing, they set an example of how important it is to be proud of what interests you and to be confident in how you speak about what matters to you, even if it differs from what matters to others.
Our eighth graders model for our younger students the skills that we hope to instill in them from an early age at Powhatan including confidence in public speaking and in who they are. There is such power in modeling whether it be from teacher to student, parent to child, or peer to peer. It is part of why buddy programs and cross-divisional activities are important to so many. It can be scary to step out on our own, to try something new, to face uncertainty, and to embrace discomfort. Yet, when our students are able to get out of their comfort zones AND feel safe in doing so, they build such remarkable confidence and independence.
This week, our kindergarten students will deliver their performance of “Moose’s Loose Tooth” and next month, pre-kindergarten students will be the last of lower school to go on stage. As they are bold and brave, our school community will be there to support them. Most importantly though, they have the model of all of the other students who have gone before them this school year. In the midst of a bustling spring with beautiful weather and excited energy, our students continue to develop a quiet (and sometimes, not so quiet) confidence that helps them to shine as individuals in an ever-changing world.