On Tuesdays I try to join Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life because it gives my week focus and helps me connect my life to education.
I glance around the room making sure to record who is at the table: curriculum coordinator, GT coordinator, principal, teacher, teacher, Me. Got it. The meeting agenda for the Gifted and Talented Advisory Council is underway. I won’t say I dread these meetings, but i don’t set the bar high for them. We move from agenda item to agenda item:
- Students who’ve recently been tested
- Paperwork needing to be filed
- What we’ve been doing with students in the classroom
The topic of how we have students who teachers think should be identified as gifted, but because of circumstances like poverty, lack of advocacy, and cultural differences, will probably never be identified. The tests aren’t finding them. Their schoolwork, while interesting, isn’t mind-blowing when compared to the students who have more experiences under their belts.
There is a collective silence while we all take this in. It feels like something pretty big has been put on the table.
Our curriculum coordinator says, “how many are we talking about?” We go around the circle sharing about the children who’ve stolen our hearts because of their ability to write or analyze or communicate purpose despite terrible circumstances at home. It seems everyone has a story of one or two kids.
There is another moment of silence pregnant with that “what should we do?” weight hanging in the air. If you aren’t a teacher, you may need to reach for your parent hat. There is a feeling of desperation that sometimes happens in eduaction where we realize we must do something.
“I think we should find some money to do action research about this,” says the only one at the table who can truly make that happen the fastest.
“We’ll do it!” my colleague and friend Ruth and I say in unison smiling at each other. So here I am using a template I have from my teaching preschool days where action research is always King. I’m still drafting a proposal, but I plan to share my understanding of the situation along the way.
What is the makeup of the kids who show giftedness, but don’t make the cut because they live in poverty or their culture is very different, or they have no one to advocate for them? Can these factors be altered to change their circumstances and lift them up?