How Your Students are Like Cake-Pops or a Box of Chocolates...

What? You are my students like cake-pops or a box of chocolates...REALLY? Well I think they are and if you choose to read this post, I think you might agree!

I am a chocolate lover...well...I take that back I am a lover of sweets any kind of sweets; chocolate candy, any kind of chocolate including triple fudge layer cake, cake-pops especially chocolate iced, Tootsie Pops (orange is my favorite); Milky Ways, Snickers, chocolate brownie sundaes, cupcakes and Tootsie Rolls....I guess I need to come clean: I am a sugarholic, chocoholic and maybe even a sweetaholic...Can you relate?

I learned a LOOOOOng time ago that a little sweetness goes a long way whether using sweet, kind words to those in need or giving out candy at Halloween...a little sweetness is hard to turn down.
Who doesn’t want to visit their Mimi (that's me) and experience a reality “Candyland” game with all kinds of forbidden pleasures like lollipops, Hershey Hugs and Kisses, cupcakes, brownies and all the sugary treats you can imagine...I mean I have a 7pound bag of Tootsie Rolls in my pantry right now...( read that correctly) right back ....Ahhh better chewing a Tootsie Roll while blogging ...can't get any better than that!

My teaching style was and still is to keep all lessons dazzling, fun, hands on and whatever each child needs to learn and grow! I LOVE to differentiate instruction as much as I can! So...I am thinking that you may be wondering...OK.. how does all this relate to teaching and what do you mean by "Students are like a box of Cake-Pops or a Box Of Chocolates." Let's think about this...

Child Number 1:  Looks put together in every way...that beautifully decorated chocolate petite four...(or choose whichever one  you like) has hair perfect, outfit trendy and color coordinated with matching shoes, accessories and even the book bag matches and is monogrammed, but when you take a bite or see past the exterior, you may find something that is not quite the way you expected. Perhaps this student has some difficulties with reading, social issues, lacks confidence or might have some home issues. From the outside everything looks fabulous, but on the inside, this sweet kiddo is crying for support in some way! This is a child you want to help in any way you can.

Child Number 2:  Comes to school a little disheveled, hair needs to be brushed, backpack is a mess and unorganized somewhat like that piece of candy that your are not sure about...should I try it or not?  Kind of like the cake you tried to make, but just did not quite look the way you expected....but when you learn more about this child,  or take a bite out of your disastrous cake, you realize it still tastes awesome and like this child, it is sweet, caring and empathetic toward others or your your taste buds with the cake!  This child is much better that you thought or assumed.  So...on the outside things don't look quite right, but on the inside the cake or candy is as sweet and tasty as can be.

Child Number 3: This child has strong verbal skills and this piece of candy is calling your name...the candy is saying," Please taste me...I am delicious, I am scrumptious and am the one piece of candy you will love forever. You will think of me night and day..Yes that's me!"  This child can talk for hours about anything or any topic you bring up even if the chatting is not on topic at all.  This little one is screaming for attention.."Is my work good? Mrs. Simpson...Mrs. Simpson I am pulling on your shirt. Do you here me?Am I doing it correctly? Do you like this? I know that on me!"  This child is the one with whom you are trying to have willpower and support with the idea that we need to take turns, we need to wait our turn, we need to raise our hand when we have something to say....we need...we fill in the blank__________! There are other pieces of candy that are just as good and I need to relax and have patience...that piece of candy or child is not the only piece in the box or classroom, but it is there...Can you see it or should I say, hear it calling your name? Yes that piece of candy keeps nagging at you and no matter where you are you hear it or see it or taste it!

Child Number 4:  This little one is the one that can't sit still.  This child runs from front to back and back to front. This one has difficulty staying in one see this little one in the reading center and then you turn around and he or she is not there.  The playground is difficult and many times there are issues because hands and feet wind up places they should not be.  This one goes in all directions and is never there when you want him or her for whatever you are doing. This is the candy that is gone before you open the box.  This piece of candy or cake pop is gone and cannot ever stay in its little confined spot in the box or in the cake pop stand.  This is the one that you need to have, but can never get it because some one else eats it are determined to get that piece where it belongs in your mouth, but you are just not quick enough and the saga goes on!

All four of these children I have described need different things to help them become their best selves and it is our job to give them what they need.  I could go on and on about all the different pieces of chocolate that are in the box and the kiddos that we teach everyday, but I KNOW you get it and understand the comparison.

Let’s face it, each year we get a classroom full of kiddos as different as a box of chocolates...Each piece might look pretty much the same on the outside, but when you take a bite, you can see and taste the difference...all sugary and sweet, but oh so different in many ways!  You go home thinking and worrying about each of these children because you care and then you sit down to relax with a real box of chocolates and eat the entire box worrying about all the little cherubs who happily scamper into your classroom every morning and it starts all over again the next try your best to figure out what will work with each of your students to make the progress and gains he or she needs and to make sure they all get exactly what they need.

I know it is hard to do what each child needs because you are only one person with a whole box of chocolates in front of you...AHHHH you could just eat the whole box at one shot, but you WILL probably be sorry in the end and get sick as well not to mention stressed at the outcome.  So my advice is just plan it out. Differentiate your lessons and start out slowly taking one idea at a time. Sometimes how you differentiate for one works with another and remember by the end of the year the box of chocolates is gone and you can say that you did your best because you took your time and continued to move in the right direction one at a time!  I remember about 28 years ago I had a student who wanted to know where we were going and I made a schedule for him, but posted it across the front board so everyone could see it and use it..and guess what?  You know the was beneficial for everyone including ME!

Our job is not easy!  You have to take care of yourself as well as those kiddos not to mention your own children, if you have with that being said...sit down and relax with a box of chocolates, or a few cake pops!