I’ve spent over a decade working with gifted students in a variety of roles from mother, to teacher, GATE supervisor for a large urban district, and principal. Throughout this time I have been fortunate to work with an amazing group of colleagues and students from whom I have learned a great deal.
I often chuckle at the response I get when people hear I work with gifted students. It’s not uncommon for them to say something along the lines of, “Oh, you work with the good kids!”. They stretch out the word GOOD and nod at me with an interesting grin on their face, as if we share some sort of secret. Along with this, of course, is the implied sentiment that working with gifted students is an easy job where the students do all the work while the teacher just sits back and enjoys the ride and the test scores.
I certainly would not describe working with gifted students as “easy”. In fact, it can be quite challenging to appropriately meet their learning and social-emotional needs. There is a real dearth of resources and lessons available, which results in countless hours seeking out and adapting or developing things independently. Despite the long hours and hard work, there really is no better job in the world.
Second only to working with gifted students, is working with teachers. I very much enjoy presenting at conferences and conducting professional development. This not only allows me to share my passion, but provides a forum in which no one will complain about teachers talking about students, classrooms, and teaching when they are “off the clock”.
It is my hope to share ideas on differentiating instruction for gifted and advanced learners and to contribute to the dialogue surrounding how to meet their unique needs. The ideas and lessons I share are not mine alone, but rather the result of building on the ideas of others who have been kind enough to share, collaborating with and receiving feedback from colleagues, and of course input from the ultimate critics: the students themselves.