The following comments are from teachers and advocates of gifted education from the University of Iowa Gifted Listserv on or around Oct. 5, 2008. I thought they were well said and could be useful for those readers in the administrative capacity.
One Teacher’s Top ten list:
1. I am a teacher, not a coach! While competitions can meet some needs of some of the children, I am not contracted to teach at 6 in the morning until 5. If Mock Trial or Math Counts is to be made a part of the curriculum for gifted students, then time to work with children on these competitions needs to be provided during the scheduled daytime, not as an after or before school activity. If you want me to provide activities for students, then I need coaching pay on top of my regular salary.
2. If you want me to collaborate or co-teach, then I need time to meet with teachers. And they need to have the same time available to meet with me.
3. Gifted students need curriculum, coursework and classes commensurate with their abilities not their age.
4. Asking regular education teachers to differentiate for the gifted sounds great, but if teachers do not know just how high those “high” kids can get, then the gifted never get needs met. In-service does not always show teachers just how much these children can really do.
5. Gifted children NEED to know they are not the only gifted children in the world. In other words, they need to know that there are others out there that not only “get them,” but who are just like them.
6. If gifted students are not challenged early, then it can become increasingly more difficult to teach them the skills they need to work at challenging levels. Apathy and fear of failure replace the skills needed to work at challenging levels.
7. School should be where children learn; not show-off what they all ready know.
8. Gifted children are busy people too. Extra work, even if appropriate, keeps them from taking responsibility for their own lives.
9. The title “teacher of gifted” is often a misnomer. I actually not only teach, I administer tests, read and interpret test data, collaborate with and provide resources for core teachers, in other words, I specialize in all things gifted for the building/district. Perhaps my title should be “Gifted Specialist,” so more people in the district will know what my actual job entails.
10. Gifted students need a G/T person accessible in all grades; not just elementary school. In fact, teens often have more social-emotional needs than elementary aged students.