I always have a picture of a head of lettuce up in my classroom as a reminder to not blame the lettuce. This sounds funny, but I read a passage in a book called, Peace is Every Step, that really made me think about my perceptions.
Blaming Never Helps- "When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like lettuce."
When I read this the first time, I thought immediately of my students. How often do we think of the limiting factors that children face in their lives that might cause educational or behavioral issues? How often to we expect students to learn the concept in the way WE want to teach them?
They are the lettuce. If Jose doesn't understand skip counting, I need to evaluate the way I am introducing it to him.
I know that my son of 3 1/2 is VERY naturalistic. His 1 to 1 counting of dots drawn on a page wasn't great. He skipped some and counted others more that once. But when Granddad gave him a tub of locust shells (yuck), and I asked how many, he easily counted, "1-2-3-4-5!" We have to give them what THEY need to grow. Meet them where they are.