As I reflect on the diverse population of exceptional students in my developmental English classroom, I realize that I am often overextended and struggle to differentiate instruction for the 100+ students enrolled in my courses. All of my students have varying degrees of aptitudes and unique experiences, yet each carry an individual learning blueprint. It is difficult to remediate every skill deficiency because students come to school unprepared with varying backgrounds-sometimes ones that emotionally handicap them, others that limit them from reaching their full potential.
When I feel overwhelmed, I try to step out of my comfort zone and reach out for support from our college community. In my own experience, when the student problems are beyond my own training, collaboration is an important component in helping students succeed. Students that are enrolled with the benefits of cohorts, armed with academic success strategies, and have the advantage of taking core courses with teachers who team together to move the student’s academic and affective skills forward. A focus on the whole learner has better enabled me to make refined decisions about what is fundamental to a grasp of the subject and what is better left to the professional outside of my field. Through collaboration, I feel armed to be able to move students into an irreversible state of growth and ultimately to success.