Please know before reading that this is not in any way meant to offend anyone! I believe you are all AMAZING parents who do the best for your children and I just want to share my side of giftedness :)
This week has been especially enlightening for me in the gifted classroom. We have had some struggles with scholars not feeling the best about their grades on vocabulary, many have said "I am going to get in trouble" or "I'm not smart enough for TAG". Here is my response: "TAG is meant to be a challenge. Most of you have NEVER been challenged to think different, apply your understanding, or do something different than "normal". Getting an 80% on a vocabulary test is the equivalent to a 105% on a spelling test that you could ace in your sleep. Just know that I will NEVER fail you as your teacher! I will not give you more than you can handle, but I WILL push you to go beyond yourself, to be a better person and to ultimately be the BEST scholar and learner you can be because I BELIEVE IN YOU! I know you CAN and WILL do amazing things in the world!"
Gifted students generally haven't had to work to succeed, let alone work hard! TAG is here to give scholars an opportunity to learn and grow instead of recall and memorize! I don't want scholars to memorize something, I want them to know it and be able to apply it in the future. I want them to think about the application of the roots to the words they see and hear everyday. I want them to analyze the world around them and propose alternative solutions to problems. And I know I am not alone in this! So, what I encourage you as parents to think about is...as much as we would like them to be 100%, A+, "perfect" students, do we push for that and risk them never seeing or doing anything hard? Do we risk them never meeting a challenge that takes them off-guard and has them think more critically? Do we continue to expect them to be "perfect" when faced with a challenge? Ultimately, you are your child's first teacher and you know them better than anyone, but my goal is for us to work as a team to make sure that ALL of your child's needs are met!
Speaking from personal experience, school was easy for me. I never studied hard or spent more than a short amount of time on homework or projects. I was a perfectionist when it came to anything and always wanted to go beyond to impress my teachers (I've come to realize I was pushing myself through perfectionism because I wasn't being challenged otherwise!). When I got to college, my world was turned upside down when I realized that I was no longer the smartest kid in the class. I was taking classes that weren't easy and I didn't know how to study! I didn't know what to do when faced with my first real challenge! I was lucky to have had an AMAZING adviser and professor who encouraged me and helped me see that a B was okay when I put in my best effort but I know many aren't as lucky! I NEVER want to see this for these children, I don't want to see any of them give up!
Gifted is truly my passion and I have worked with some of the most outstanding and talented students our county has to offer but their parents were never far behind! This is one of the most rewarding parts of my job because I not only get to work with the children but their parents as well. Please continue to share with me so that we can work together to ensure continued success!
The past few week has been especially crazy in the TAG world as we begin our year together. I want to thank each of you for your "million words or less" about your child. These have truly helped me to understand and see them outside of the classroom.
When I shared this assignment with my mom, we decided it would be an interesting twist for you to hear her take on me. I hope you enjoy!!
My child is Sarah Lee (your teacher). She is amazing in the fact that she truly cares about her students. Growing up sometimes I wondered. As a teenager, her favorite colors were clear or see through. Sarah and her sister are very close, even though they are 5 years apart in age. Also they are totally different. Bethany is a tomboy who likes 4-wheelers, shooting guns and can work on a car. Sarah is a girly-girl who likes getting her nails done, reading and a good movie. Oh, and shopping! Sarah's favorite movie is "The Wizard of Oz" and she has quite a collection of wizard of oz stuff.
Sarah likes to go to basket bingo where she is usually quite lucky. She is also a very good photographer. She is quite handy with a camera and lives her position on the yearbook staff. She also has a phobia of possums! She hates them! If she runs over one she is scared to get out of her car. She thinks it might still be under there! Sarah went to college and got her bachelors. Then started teaching while taking evening classes to get her masters degree. She has had many students and a few have kept in contact with her and are now in college themselves.
Over all I am very proud of Sarah and what she has accomplished and to see she is an upstanding teacher who genuinely cares about her students! She has made me "ONE HAPPY AND PROUD MOM!"