How can we (I) be so wrong?
It wasn't until I had a child that I truly learned the meaning of "learning." To watch him as he observes what happens when his hand hits a plastic tub holding his blocks, what Mommy or Daddy will do if he just lets go of this toy, or if he makes one sound, who will give him what (thanks Grandma & Mimi) has been one of the most beneficial experiences as a teacher.
It's shown me that -
Learning isn't necessarily that light bulb. There isn't always a flash in the eyes that signals "I got this." Sometimes he's super deep in concentration looking for the next piece to an ever-growing puzzle. I can't remember the last time I just let my mind wander with "what's next" questions. And I certainly don't see that in every student.
Learning can't be forced. He can't articulate the "I don't want to do this" whine yet, but he's very good about not being interested in things. Even in his most engaged activities, he'll move on to something else. I began to realize how often I did that same thing. So what if I had to put down "Divergent" four or five times before I actually completed the book -- "Bossypants", "Harold and the Purple Crayon", and "The Fault in Our Stars" were all way more better and interesting than it. And I took advantage.
Learning changes. Now he's so touchy-feely. He wants to know what my teeth feel like, so he grabs the bottom row like he's about to drag me out of the house by them. He wants to know what my face looks like when he pushes my chubby cheek up to my eyeball. Then he doesn't want to be touched - he wants to watch as I dance around our kitchen island like a witch doctor about to cast some voodoo spell on a chicken breast.
He also knows how to manipulate me. He learned that early. One pout and I'm mush.
So what does this mean for me as a teacher - it's not just that everyone is different, it's that everyone goes through different changes at different times, and I need to be prepared for it all.