Seeing something in them.
What an honor it is to teach. How wonderful it is to stand in front in front of a group of students and know that someday they’ll be the dancers, the engineers, the doctors, the plumbers, the bakers, the marketers, designers, poets, mechanics, researchers, politicians, ball players, and yes, teachers.
Often, dreams begin at home or in the classroom. Parents who can provide opportunities for their children are constantly looking for signs of excitement and interest. A guitar here, chemistry set there, visits to the museum, and walks in the park. Support and guidance, key. The possibilities for “trying something new,” endless.
Teachers too, can learn to observe signs of potential and offer varied curricular opportunities grounded in research, infusing so much more than factual textbook information. Teachers, aware of the needs, both social and educational, of high-ability students, not only create a comfortable environment for their students, but also come to realize the genuineness of their own teaching. The ability to identify potential, offer differentiated curriculum (process and product), and assess with individuality are three tools I continue to refine year after year. .
I have only recently started to see the effects that my colleagues and I have had on the students we taught over 10 years ago. They visit often and share stories of those days in seventh and eighth grade when the invitation to give a speech, research a specific topic, conduct an experiment, organize a social event, serve food at a food pantry, paint a picture, work together with others, and countless other opportunities grabbed hold, and never let go.
It is up to us, as educators, to see something in them. A spark, a light bulb, a good answer, a great question. We then need to reinforce that excitement with resources, opportunities, and support, knowing full well that the next day may bring a new interest.
NAGC has many resources relating to the areas discussed. Here are few to get you started.
Visit the pages for Identification, Curriculum & Instruction, and Assessment
Support your ideas by recognizing why Gifted Education Works.
Explore past Teaching for High Potential articles as well as archived Teacher’s Corner posts
Check out What’s New at NAGC