Thoughts on Gifted Education
"If I steal your struggle, I steal your self- confidence.
You must do the things you think you cannot do."
These words spoken by the amazing Eleanor Roosevelt so many years ago, exemplify the my journey of Gifted Education and challenging my high ability students in the classroom. So many of my students come to me and say "I'm bored",or "everything is so easy". My job is to challenge them and to stretch them beyond what they believe are their capabilities. It is the first time in their short school lives that they do not pick up something quickly or master immediately. This struggle brings many feelings and reactions. Some students meet the challenges head on and others meet frustration for the very first time and do not know how to handle it. As a Classroom Teacher and Gifted Specialist, it is my job to challenge your children and to teach them how to handle the frustration of difficult material. I care about the social and emotional aspect of Giftedness, not just the academic side.
The goal of any teacher is to instill the love of learning to our students. True learning stretches you in every way and instead of feeling incapable of difficult problem solving, we should meet the challenge with enthusiasm and patience. As teachers and parents of Gifted Students, we need to start instilling in them the love of learning. If a student is getting all A's, and not truly "learning" anything, what does that A mean? Our Gifted students need to learn that the rigor of a class and the pursuit of true learning is their true "education". It is hard to embrace this in a grade driven culture, but the reality is that most higher education institutions are more concerned with the rigor of a class than the grade. The satisfaction of a well earned grade and the pursuit of overcoming challenges should be the priority.
Let us not be too quick to rescue our children from a challenge, but lead them through it so they learn and develop the self esteem and confidence they will need the rest of their lives. Eleanor Roosevelt was successful because she lived this quote. May we truly hear her words and live them out!