The other day, I sent off for a membership in the Texas Assoc. for Gifted and Talented. I figure that, if anything, I can begin to understand how Texas works by reading their material. Only one of the districts (Tomball or Klein) asked what I would like to seek a position in or even had Gifted on the list. My guess is that Gifted and Talented takes a back seat to everything just like in Louisiana.
What do I mean by a back seat? If you have taught in gifted, you may have experienced the lack of communication between the school as a whole and you. All through my children’s education and my teaching years, I had to claw for information about events and opportunities for my children. Most of the time, I would overhear something or even find out about it the day of the event. Why? These are the brightest and able minds in the country and we impede them and their teachers most of the time. I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons that can be explored at length.
This struggle is not all negative. Gifted individuals and their teachers have become very independent and self-sufficient. Gifted and talented individuals tend to forge their own way (fortitude) and do it over and over again (resilience) both major characteristics of gifted individuals. They can work at solving a problem using unconventional thinking and focus.
There are companies/universities out there who are reaching out to the gifted individual. I applaud them but at the same time, do they really know their ‘stuff’ about how a gifted individual functions, what he/she needs to ‘shine’? I noticed in the Rice Continuing Studies program there was a course entitled, “Creativity in the Office, (It’s not an Oxymoron)”. They may have it right. The activities in the course description sounded much like the Creative Thinking course I took for my gifted certification at SLU. At a large company like Shell Oil, I can tell that they haven’t totally grasped the unique characteristics of their gifted employees. If they did, they would offer more social skill training, allow more time for thinking, create more opportunities for collaboration and brainstorming. Out of all the companies that I experience with (which is limited), Shell comes about as close as anybody in utilizing the abilities of their diverse thinkers and it still falls short.
Someday, maybe, these individuals will be utilized for their potential contribution to society with placing stupid little obstacles in their way. However, gifted individuals must also realize that, even though they don’t mean it, sometimes their behaviors can be misinterpreted as ‘snubbing’. We all have a lot to learn. And with my experience with the gifted individuals that I know, they will find a way!