Know Thy Students- Know Thyself

Over the last two years I have been taking classes to earn my gifted endorsement. When I first started teaching, I had no idea that I would consider working with the gifted. I went into teaching to “work in the trenches”- and what that meant to me at the time (for perspective I was fresh out of college with no true-real-classroom experience) was that I was going into teaching to help kids who really struggled with school. I wanted to help close the achievement gap, or the gap that exists between low-income students and their more affluent peers in academic success.

I taught for two years on the border of Mexico & Texas, and this is what I did– I came in early, stayed late, met with student on my lunch break to ensure that every kid who left my class could read and write on grade level or above. But something bugged me– I was spending so much time and energy on the students who were the lowest, that my high-performing students didn’t always make as many significant gains.

Fast-forward three schools later, having taught in the inner-city of Columbus, in a intervention program, and then in an autism self-contained unit, and I found myself in my current district assigned to teach gifted 6th graders. I thought it was going to be soooo easy…

I am forever changed by my sixth graders who were gifted- they taught me that every child needs a passionate educator who is working for their needs, regardless of whether it is a need to be taught to read, or a need to be taught how to harness the emotional and intellectual energy that accompanies and IQ of 150+ into something productive and powerful. I learned that students who are gifted are much harder to “manage” than most people probably think. They question your choices, they are loud, they are INTENSE. And they are wonderful, passionate, and a great adventurous group to explore the world with. Thanks to all of the gifted students I have had the opportunity to learn with! I’ve learned that every sub-group of students has specific needs, interests, and strategies that work best. You’ve taught me so well!