There are brilliant students everywhere. Sometimes you just have to look through a different lens and sometimes it’s just blatantly obvious.
Occasionally one student stands out. Like really stands out. In this particular case, AO was a physics student of mine about four years ago.
AO kept (and successfully used) electronic components in his backpack that I had never even heard of. And I had been a (pretty) decent physics student at the College of William and Mary. To force AO to go through any of the curriculum I had on electronics would have been torture for both of us.
So I told him to “do what you want for the next few weeks” while the rest of the class would be engaging with the CASTLE curriculum which is great for deep conceptual understanding about electricity. He wound up helping students during class while also working on the electronics piece to his robotics projects.
Now, as an administrator, I must connect the stories of students like AO to teachers that are talented beyond belief. I will encourage and facilitate their growth but I do not have the answers. I just hope to foster an environment where top teachers want to live and thrive and know that they have an administrator that values(and promotes) their autonomy and professionalism.
I most certainly will not slow them down with prescribed professional development.
Let’s not slow down our students either.