I was discussing teaching with a co-workers today – a guy who went to school for music education so he actually knows about that kind of stuff – and he made a comment that really resonated true with me:
In order to treat everyone equally, you need to treat everyone differently.
That’s not to say you have favorites or something, it’s to say that what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for someone else.
If Jimmy and Suzy both spend 3 hours studying for a math test (ie: putting in the same amount of effort) and Suzy gets an A and Jimmy gets a C – that doesn’t mean that Jimmy’s C is worth less than Suzy’s A. The work put into it was the same.
You can’t take a lesson plan and make it fit everyone, you have to tweak it enough for each individual so that it works for them. I want people to succeed, not fall through the cracks because what I’m teaching is too generalized and doesn’t work for their pet.
For example, I had an obedience class a while ago with 4 dogs in it. Three of the dogs were new to training and the fourth, Hopscotch, had learned a lot in puppy classes already. So what I did was go over the basics in such a way that the new people were able to get their dogs to the level that Hopscotch was already at and then I went on to give Hopscotch things to work on in the same general area but more suited to her level. Hopscotch could sit quickly and prettily while the others were getting lured into it still. So I had Hopscotch start working on distance sits, more distractions and longer times. We made it so that class wasn’t boring for her even though she wasn’t at the same level as the other students.
I LOVE giving individualized attention, and I think people like getting it. When you go to a class, you want to learn things that apply to your dog, not just any dog. And that’s what I like to do best.