It's only day four of our new Project Based Learning program but I have already learned my first and perhaps most significant lesson. As I watch our new group of fresh faced and enthusiastic 8th grade students participate in the various team building activities we have presented them with, I take notice of those that participate with ease and those that occasionally struggle for any variety of unique reasons. I am struck, almost in terror, with the realization that if I allow any of our students to "get left behind" it will not only let them down but everyone in the program because there is such tremendous interdependency in PBL. Never before have I felt such a massive responsibility to the success of each and every student.
I know I have always tried my best to help struggling students to keep from failing, but that is not the same as supporting each child to succeed to the absolute best of their ability. The projects we are creating are designed to provide awesome real world experiences that reflect student voice and choice but the program will fall short of its potential if we fail to fulfill the potential of each and every student. It's an imperative. For the first time, in my admittedly short three year teacher career, my work feels truly meaningful because my students and I will get to strive for the highest common denominator rather than the lowest.
And we're off!!!