I had a really good time and learned a lot from the gifted conference that I went to, however, I’m a little discouraged with how Texas approaches teaching their gifted. It’s like the “one size fits all” concept. We had such a sweet deal in St. Tammany Parish. I asked my professor at SLU that taught all the gifted class how the Parish was able to individualize so much and she said that it was because of the tax base provided by the residents that allowed for such a great program. It’s not like that throughout LA. Now, I truly understand how lucky Adam and Amber were to be educated there.
My choices for a future job in the gifted field (as I see it so far) include:
pull out gifted teacher (barely respected by the rest of the teachers),
cluster grouping teacher (where I would have 6 or more gifted in a regular ed class),
gifted coordinator (administration),
working at a private school with emphasis on gifted (subject to their interpretation of gifted), or
teaching in a private school entirely dedicated to the gifted,
tutoring, or offering services to homeschoolers,
The situation that I had at PineView does not exist in the big state of Texas unless I take a position at the school entirely for the gifted that is about 45 minutes from here. At least it is minutes away from the place where Dave used to work in West Houston. After a couple of years, he may end up back there. I am amazed that there are not more schools in the Houston area dedicated to meeting the needs of the gifted. As far as I can tell, the programs available to the parent of a gifted child are the public school situation (which is not all that differentiated), private school situation (expensive), homeschooling (a good answer especially with distance learning connected to esteemed universities) or moving to Nevada to the Davidson Institute (or other similar programs.)
Everyone who is associated with the gifted field knows that No Child Left Behind is leaving behind our nation’s brightest minds. Barely 7% of the entire money spent on Special Education is spent on gifted programs (according to CNN’s reent program http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/genius/ ). The rest is spent on the lower end of special education. I agree that much work is needed there but it should not be at such an expense to those students who just might carry the economy of our nation into the future. The thinkers, the doers, the high acheivers. Those parents and administrators in St. Tammany Parish are on the right track and should be proud of their efforts. I’m sure there are other ‘pockets’ of support in other areas of the nation. I’d like to know about them!
The good thing is that I am setting myself up to experience all the situations (except the coordinator) so that I can experience each to decide what will best suit me. I’m all set to substitute in four school districts, a private Baptist school with a gifted program and a school entirely dedicated to the gifted. I’m batting around the idea of tutoring in the spring and contacting the homeschoolers association in the area. We’ll see what happens!
ps. I did forget one thing. At the conference, I was made aware of several science summer camps geared for the gifted. One meets at an elementary school nearby. I would be paid $550 for the week to teach and a bit more to coordinate. Always a possibility that would allow for lots of flexibility. For that matter, I could probably go to work for a curriculum company or a product company (except that sales doesn’t excite me right now….but I could work it from my beautiful home….) Thoughts to ponder