Today in tap dancing we had a substitute teacher. I'm always pleasantly surprised when we do for 2 reasons. One, the person teaches slightly differently than our awesome regular teacher. Even though I enjoy class on a regular basis, it's nice to have a variety sometimes. Second, the substitute invariably comes in without knowing anything about us, and that usually leads to them teaching us "harder" stuff. We don't always get it, but it's nice to be presented with it just to test it out ... knowing we'll go back to our normal routine next time and there's no anxiety if we "get it or not" because it's "not our routine".
Then on my drive home, I started thinking about me being the "regular teacher" in my math classes. I basically do the same thing every day. Yes, there are variations ... about once a month or so (?), but hmmm, maybe it's time to spice it up more often. Second, I know my kids. Especially since I've had more than half of them for the 2nd year now. I guess I have certain expectations of what they can and can't do. But now I'm thinking I need to again, sometimes spice it up.
Maybe I can toss in a "hard" day or a "hard" problem every week or couple of weeks. Well scaffolded, and with the very clear disclaimer that it's not business as usual, but they should just dip their toes in the water. Maybe not everyone would "get it", but the variety would be good, and the "faster" kids would get their cookie crumb every now and then.