Many of us have a difficult time remembering our childhood.
Maybe we remember a few friends, a teacher who liked us, and the school we went to, but for the most part, everything else is a blur.
Elementary school doesn't seem like a big deal while we're there, or in hindsight, but it's actually a crucial time of development.
In many ways, our younger years shape our personality and how we grow up. The things we learn become instilled in us for life, even if we're not consciously aware of it.
As a student for more than two decades, something has become very apparent to me about all educational systems, and I'm sure many of you reading this article will agree:
Some teachers only come in for a paycheck, whereas others come to make a lasting impact on a student's life.
Bailey Koch has been a special education teacher for more than seven years, and she doesn't come to school just to teach a curriculum, she's also there to instill important life lessons.
On the website, Koch shares how hanging two dollar bills in class changes the outlook of her students.
She says this trick can not only be used in the classroom, but also at home.
Here's how the lesson starts:
"As my students walk into the classroom and take their seats, they notice two crisp dollar bills hanging next to each other from the ceiling. As they filter in, I slyly choose two students (one much taller than the other) and ask them to join me in the hall for a moment."
"I’ve never had anyone not okay with helping, but being respectful is of the utmost importance to me for this demonstration," she adds, noting that she only asks students who feel comfortable to be part of this exercise.
Then, the rest of the students take a seat and watch the two chosen students stand below the dollar bills hanging above their heads.
"I announce to the class that the first student to reach his or her dollar bill will get to keep BOTH of them."
The class counts down from three to one, and both students reach for the dollar bill. Of course, the taller student grabs the money and wins the contest.
"We all clap as I hand both dollar bills to the taller student. Both students take their seats and I pretend that’s the end of the demonstration and continue on with class."
Unsurprisingly, some students start whispering about how that contest was unfair.
"We then begin a conversation about the fact that it’s nobody’s fault that one student was taller and the other wasn’t able to reach. So what can we do?"
She decides to re-do the demonstration, and this is where things get interesting!
"I call the same two students up and hang the dollar bills from the ceiling again. This time, I allow the shorter student to stand on a chair underneath one dollar bill. Same rules."
Both students reach for their own dollar bill and get to it at the same time, so it becomes a tie.
Here's the takeaway:
"We leveled the playing field. You see, a chair is an accommodation not unlike extended time, fewer choices, headphones, or leaving the classroom. Both of these students, regardless of their height, deserved to reach the same goal in the end. They both equally deserved that dollar bill and it wasn’t the fault of the shorter student that he or she hasn’t grown as tall as the other. The rules just weren’t fair."
Koch adds that education is no different. A teacher gives special or extra attention to one particular student in order to allow them to be on the same playing field as their peers.
"Some students have difficulties or even disabilities we can’t see," she concludes her post. "Sometimes we have to make adjustments for students in order to allow them to get to the same goal as everyone else. We all deserve the best education. We all deserve to reach our goals, but some of us just need a little more help because of the way we were born."