This is not a new concept, and in fact, I dug into my own blog and found a post from 2008 about this very idea. The idea is simple. Stop hoping that your class was filled with students who are better at whatever you think they should be better at. Stop blaming last year’s teachers or the fact that they’re into sports for their falling behind in your class.
The students sitting in front of you, they’re what you’ve got, and it’s your job to bring your A game and figure out how to get them where you think they should be. It’s hard. It might require rethinking the goals of your class. It certainly will require rethinking how to reach those goals.
Long, long gone are the days of “one-size-fits-all” teaching, and yet, the idea that we should have a class full of homogenous students persists. First, I want to root out that idea, and second, I want to find ways to help teachers build learning environments that give all students the best opportunity to learn.