After The Fireworks
“Experience teaches only the teachable.”
I began June’s Teacher’s Corner with a quote from Huxley which speaks to “improving one’s own self”, and now that I have had time this summer to reflect upon the goals I set forth, I thought it best to round up the summer adventures of an educator with that same quote.
With the first days of school just days away, even the most seasoned teacher feels a variety of emotions. I am about to embark on my twelfth year of teaching, and while excited for the hustle and bustle of the daily planning, instructing, evaluating, and encouraging my students, there still lingers a little trepidation that a whole new group of them will be sitting before me. Students with different interests, learning styles, and preferences. Students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Students who are not only looking to learn about the wonders of the world, but who will also need individualized attention when it comes to their affective needs. Students who need something different.
Many readers can relate to the annual ebb and flow of the educational profession, but there are others who will step into a classroom for the very first time. While many of them have been made aware of “what to look for” in all of their students, research has shown that many entering the field do not possess the simple curricular planning, affective infusion, and overall awareness of characteristics needed to create an atmosphere of learning for “all” students, whether it be a homogenous or heterogeneous assortment. A visit to the educator’s section of the NAGC website is a great place to start.
Throughout the years I have come to realize that each year is like beginning anew. The material and overall theme of each lesson does seem to resonate over the years; however, the experience for those seated before me is always different. Questions dictate the discussion. Preferences and attitudes determine group dynamic. Levels of knowledge demonstrate competency and as students become comfortable with the material, the information uncovered and creative problem solving is often times unique in nature. Each day becomes full of excitement and challenge.
Huxley’s quote tells us that a primary function of a classroom is to allow for experience through teaching, all the while instilling a comfort level among the students, who come to class ready to be “taught.”
I had a wonderful two months off and during that time I had the pleasure of travelling to two of the largest gifted conferences in the country, as both a presenter and an attendee. I have conversed with hundreds of educators, sharing information and ideas. It is clear to me that those in the field of gifted education, at every level, are continually searching for ways to either uncover, develop, or encourage students of high potential. Each and every one should be proud!
For those of you waiting for an update of my “To-Do” list from the June issue, here goes:
- Visited many used bookstores, finding an out-of-print copy of The Nature Study Idea and also picked up a copy of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon
- The Fall issue of Teaching For High Potential is now at the printer
- Found four unique website links for each of my three main units at school.
- Have yet to work on an idea for an editorial related to Gifted Education, although I am leaning towards a “Monty Python” themed piece.
- Have not yet located an educator grant to apply for. Still searching.
- Talked with many educators over too many cups of coffee to count.
- Explained the principles of gifted education to many folks who don’t really know what it is all about.
- Read the summer issue of Gifted Child Quarterly
- Thought of something new to teach, and have started planning.
- I encouraged a few educators to consider attending or presenting at a conference.
- Still planning for the opening of school…
- Relaxed as often as possible with family and friends.
I would like to close this installment by letting you know that NAGC has also developed a Back-to-School Toolkit for parents, administrators, and educators alike. The resources found on those pages are some of the best the field has to offer all of you! Visit it today.
Have a great start to the school year! I hope to see many of you at the annual conference in Atlanta.