Hello, I am interested in getting feedback, from parents, about what has and hasn't worked when talking to teachers about a child's giftedness. I have been asked, as a parent, to be a presenter at a symposium about the gifted and talented. My working title is 'Mythbusting, The Pushy Parent!' In my presentation I want to discuss not only my own experience but that of other parents. The symposium is aimed at the education sector. I would appreciate any feedback that would assist in my research. Many Thanks Sue
I would start with getting them (educators) to challenge their own subconscious reactions to a scenario of a parent presenting their child as gifted. I really feel it is the reaction of the educator that dictates how the experience will go. As educational experts they need to be able to tactfully 'sort the wheat from the chaff' so to speak and presuming all parents as innocent in the first instance will help.
My experience was with a tactful Principal and a very experienced teacher who took the time to discover for themselves that what I was saying was true and the result has been pretty good so far.
My next experience (in progress, same school) is a little different as DD is presenting in a less academic manner, dumbing down and playing up for a reaction, grr. It's very difficult in these circumstances and especially as she's 'Meeting the National Standards' --i.e. school job done, back to you...
Educators will do less damage by accepting parents who think their child is gifted and doing a few tests, recommending a few programmes, etc vs. assuming not and fobbing them off.
When I told the teacher our son had been tested and was in the gifted range, her mouth tightened and she took a long pause. Then she forced a smile and said, "In what way." We told her about VS learning style and constant questions. We showed her the part where he was comprehending at three years above his level however, was emotionally age appropriate. Latching on to that, she said "Well, we will work on his emotional maturity and in three years time he will be well balanced." ! ! ! ! Are you kidding! Firstly, if she's giving him three years to emotionally mature, it would happen naturally without any input from her, so no work would be done. Secondly, that means not answering his persistent questions in order to hold him back so in three years he will be "well balanced".
I think this "well balanced" notion is a pleasant sounding term to hide behind. Who is to say what "well balanced" is, as it may differ for each individual. What if his balance is to be asynchronous and that is balanced for him. If he is not challenged and is re-learning things he already knows, he will disengage and shut down his learning or become naughty or attention seeking.
I have heard of schools who have a special needs teacher who takes small groups of children into the library for two periods three times per week and works with them, giving extra help or advancement. Working with ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Giftedness, Bright Sparks and other needs. I think this is a great idea and all schools should have a Special Needs Teacher.
Good luck with your presentation. Please do update us or if there is a website, post it here so we can check it out. Thanks.
Thanks for doing this, Sue. Like the other posts above, I got the "Oh, we haven't seen any evidence of his giftedness" comment. I knew my little man was different from 6 weeks old but it was never an issue until halfway through Year 1 at school. I would never have had him tested for anything if he hadn't developed severe behaviour problems at school (only at school - not at home) and then started to say he wanted to die and kill himself (He was 6 years old). I had to turn into one of THOSE mothers - something was terribly wrong (I have another girl in the school who is older and has had never been issue at all).
We had him tested we had "Gifted" and "Dysgraphic" identified (as well as a bunch of ADHD, autistic, dyslexic but all were later discounted) but the teacher just treated him like an idiot and a bad kid. He went ballistic a few times. I was a BAD mother. The problem was me, not the boy, not the school.
Anyhow, the school offered no help other than providing me with parenting advice. I pleaded and begged for behaviour support in the school (no problems at home, remember?).
After more than a year of consulting every expert and seeking every type of help possible (and paying for it privately), we brought in his OT for a meeting and we FINALLY got an IEP and the whole world suddenly opened up for my little man. The school FINALLY accepted he needed help (18 months on) and now resources are suddenly available for him when he needs it. He is no longer labelled as a "BAD KID". He is treated more gently and with respect by teachers and we finally have a settled boy, who still is "different" but happy.
(and yes, I had to become one of THOSE mothers and I hated every minute of it but I would do it again in a breath to see my kids get what they need in life).
Hope this provides some fodder for your talk. Happy to provide more details if you wish. Thanks!
Oh dear, Anon! What a jaw-dropping comment from your teacher. Do you know what you will do next?
I remember at DS old school, this issue of balance was a worrying one for me too. In particular, they said that there can be problems when writing skills lag behind reading skills so they try to focus on bringing writing skills up and not encourage a bigger gap with advancing quickly in reading.
But a gap between comprehension and writing is perfectly logical with a young gifted child! I found it disturbing that they would consider handicapping one area against natural talents in order to "fix" some perceived problem.
I would guess the problems this school discovers in the children who race ahead with reading and are frustrated with the slowness of writing are simply the usual difficulty with not having enough resources to fulfill gifted children's needs. In my discussions with them, they spent most of their time on the area of his test where problems might occur (writing and processing speed), ignoring any discussion of extension where he was clearly advanced.
And now, DS teacher says his writing is very good! I hadn't seen this in his writing at home but what he does at school IS very good. Not as good as his reading :-) but he seems to be surviving his sad lack of balance there.
Adults are allowed to have strengths as well as things we just don't do. What an educational fallacy to enforce balance on children. Mediocrity already exists - we don't need to have it as a goal.
As a parent, I only want one thing - for my child to be happy. Like most children, he is happy when he is engaged and challenged. I don't want to be pushy but I do want his needs catered for.
Something I don't like about the education system is that it doesn't cater very well for gifted children. These are the children who may grow up to run our country, maybe find a cure, or perhaps even save the world (environmentally, that is). If these gifts aren't encouraged, what are they going to end up doing?
My experience has been that the teachers pay me lip service, tell me all these great things they are going to do to extend ds and then nothing happens! The school itself has attempted to put in place some programmes for gifted kids, but once again it seems to be lip service and te programmes aren't given any real resources or support/direction and therefore just die off.
Teachers don't want to offer indiviudual programmes for our kids, its too much hard work - but they don't mind using them to help with teaching the other kids in the class when they need it!
Teachers need more professional development and training on gifted kids before they can really assist.
I echo disillusioned.
There are so many pushy parents out there. We meet them all the time. When you have a child who lives to learn, they don't need pushing, but holding back! Or they over-commit. And they are happiest when they are engaged and stimulated and not tired.
Things go wrong when they don't engage or aren't stimulated. Or aren't given work at the appropriately challenging level, even if they need work years beyond their age!
It's almost easiest if they are gifted in one area, like reading or writing or sport. Gifted across the board is guaranteed a pushy parent label. It is very upsetting and so far from the truth.
I have a Nanny who is studying ECE so she is helping me with the three kids until she gets qualified. She said it is a real eye-opener to see DS in action because he just looks like a high energy kid who is constantly testing the boundaries. A teacher may see that as disruptive but miss the moments when he comes out with the deep questions well beyond his years. Mostly this happens in the car to and from school or in a moment of quiet contemplation which is not available in a school environment.
She says unless a teacher lives with it, it would be hard to see in the controlled environment of a classroom. That the biggest problem she can see is that perhaps teachers are unaware that the entire thought process is so different, intense and intellectualised as to cause the classroom curriculum to seem watered down, dull and narrow in topic exploration. She also concludes that even with extension, the one on one time a gifted child needs to discover and immerse themselves in a topic would still be unattainable. That perhaps the only real way to meet their needs is to extend them with a dedicated teacher sitting beside the gifted learner to meet their thirst for knowledge or to work on a different topic if the current class discussion is already known.
I would be interested to know if an IEP could include a parent being allowed to sit in on a class to extend their child as needed.
I have asked her what a parent could say to a teacher to help them understand what their child is capable of. She shook her head and said there is no way you could put it into words that would suddenly switch on a teacher's understanding, it definitely needs to be experienced.
Interesting. I will leave you all to draw your own conclusions on that one. I would be interested to hear a teacher's perspective too. For the teachers who have experienced one of those "wow" moments, I guess the understanding is embedded in their minds forever.
I agree that there is nothing more powerful than the teacher experiencing their own 'wow' moment. Even the very experience teachers with training in giftedness have appeared to change their attitude (from tactful consideration to actual enthusiasm) when they've 'discovered' DS capacity. At least armed with the psychologist report and parental input they know to be looking out and not assume the child is a cheat or something.
I read advice on here a while ago that sometimes it is better for the teacher to 'discover' your child's giftedness themselves. As I had already had a positive reaction to my son needing support in his transition to school (he has mild asperger's), I decided to give it a month before saying anything in regards to his giftedness. Well several weeks after my son started school, his teacher pulled me aside and said 'I think your son is gifted and if you have time, I want to talk to you about how we can support him...'. So needless to say I feel very fortunate! He has been at school for nearly a year and is thriving. He has some behavioral challenges, which the school have worked with me on, but his teacher has always stressed the importance of embracing and acknowledging his abilities.
Why some schools approach giftedness differently to others, I can't say for sure, but i think it has a lot to do with the attitude of the principal. I have a friend who is a primary school teacher, and she was surprised that my year one son was doing year two maths. She said that that would never be allowed at the school she teaches at. The principal believes that children should never be learning above their age appropriate level because it just causes trouble down the line. When i suggested that bored and unchallenged kids are likely to be disruptive kids, she agreed, but said that was the way the principal ran things.
Have to share these.
EG kids. With my kids, especially the older one for some reason, the vast majority of teachers have dealt with our concerns by setting out to 'prove' how wrong we are.
1. Child 1: Division and multiplication as a preschooler. Asked NE teacher for harder maths, teacher got her superior in, who told me I was "just another one of those pushy parents" and then smirked that apparently my kid could count to 10 but kids in her class could count to 20.
2. School principal - I wont accept an IQ test, it's just a number. Got developmental profile - principal said "I need a number". Same principal to DH "I might be cleverer than you.
3. Child 1 - radically accelerated, no follow-up, told to 'back off' when I was concerned about maths underachievement, backed-off, end of year I said "can I finally see the maths book". "No it ended up in the rubbish" (True story).
4. Child 1 - multiple-time "national champ" in chosen activity, currently training with those several years senior, numerous accolades and awards from local and international experts. Teacher 1, re joining the school team in these area said our child might not cope with it. Hmmm. A couple of years later, another teacher hellbent on proving our child is not gifted or talented, let alone exceptionally so: our multi-award winning, perfect-scoring national champ is 'average' at this activity.
5. Child 1 - teacher above. Child thinks that whatever he does is not good enough for this teacher. One day got Daddy - professional who secures multi-million dollar funding in chosen field - to check homework he'd done in Daddy's area of expertise. Daddy - yes, that's correct. Teacher: 1 out of 3. "two-year old stuff".
6. Same child - apparently not good enough to join the school's group of half a dozen or so computer experts. Didn't get to "learn" about ICT or computers at school while they all went off and had workshops, demonstrations, special classes. Had to be content with playing on the computer at home. ICAS computing - despite them getting all that extension in computing etc, and our child getting nothing at school, no teaching or instruction but 'self-taught' our child outscored all of them.
These comments aren't meant as a 'brag' but rather they are some examples of what we have encountered. We *have* had good teachers, but, we have also encountered those who really do seem set out to 'prove' that our kids are nothing special. Sadly, this often (as seen above) goes beyond a failure to meet their needs, but in some cases, includes what seems to be an active attempt to 'prove' our child is no more gifted or talented than the others.
Author: Anonymous poster again
Date: 08-08-11 09:16
Would like to add that I agree with the statements about letting the teacher 'discover' for him- or herself. The difficulties we have faced have always stemmed from an initial disagreement with a teacher. It appears as if, in order for the teacher to 'save face', he or she has to be seen to be 'right'.
Our second child has had a somewhat easier time than our first child, and, I suspect this is in-part due to us taking a different approach and letting the school see the giftedness.
Sadly, sometimes leaving a teacher to notice the needs does not always work; we have no choice but to raise the issue. It's a gamble with our child's happiness at school. If we say nothing - needs mightn't be noticed. If we say something, we may get a teacher who responds beautifully (and we have had that) or we may get a teacher who decides to spend the rest of the year proving that he or she did *not* miss anything, and the child is not gifted.
I agree with the idea that teachers are less defensive when they realise for themselves that a child is gifted. Not that this means that the child's needs will be catered for. My experience of talking to teachers about giftedness is that in most cases they immediately go on the offensive and try to prove that the child is just average, the line I have heard most often is "I have other children in my class who achieve much more highly than your child", or "everyone thinks their child is gifted".
I had a horrible experience with my son at primary school - his teacher told him
(and then us) that he needed to accept that he wasn't as intelligent as his parents thought he was. This child is now in the accelerated stream at high school but it has taken 4 years for him to get over the damage to his self confidence from being told that.
Occasionally there is a gem of a teacher who doesn't feel threatened by giftedness, in the many years of schooling that my children have experienced, I think I've met two of them. Those are the ones that you can talk to without the wall of defensiveness coming up.
I sometimes wonder if teachers worry about a child being cleverer than they are?
What a horrible experience for your son. Agreed re the occasional gem - we have had *one* who is simply wonderful and doesn't appear the least bet threatened. We now have another one who, although less experienced than our 'gem' isn't threatened in the least. It's wonderful.
And I 100% agree that with some teachers, they do worry that a child is cleverer than they are. If a child is gifted, or highly gifted, then the odds are that the child *is* smarter than his or her teacher.
It is so refreshing to have those secure teachers who delight in a child's quirkiness and way of learning, and absolutely appalling to see the insecurities of some teachers manifested themselves in bullying of 'tall-poppy' *children*.
Over the years I have been disgusted at the way some teachers - adults - have treated my *small child*.
AGREE: They need to see if for themselves ( teachers). We gave all ours all the assessment reports etc, I don't think they believed any of it.
Suddenly in Year 3 our son sits the PAT tests ( and they are multichoice which is great because he is dyspraxic and can't write) and wham, suddenly they are all talking about how smart he is... shame it took 3 years.
Have had some similar experiences as a parent. I'm also a teacher, and have in the past probably not been so open to listening to what parents have been telling me. A key lesson from my own experience (and reading about others) is for teachers to LISTEN to what parents are telling them and be open to hearing the message.
Madelaine, it's great to see teachers learn from their own experiences how they can better help their students. You'll know that, as a parent, it is *extremely* difficult to not be heard, especially when the issues your child has are causing him or her some difficulties - unhappiness, lack of motivation, underachievement etc.
One aspect of communicating with teachers that I find very annoying is that often, if a teacher decides that claims of giftedness reflect nothing more than the pushiness/insecurities/competitiveness or whatever of a parent, then *everything* that parent says lacks credibility. You are either a parent who is listened to, or you're not. My own most recent example was to tell the teacher that my child could not join a school sports team (when asked to try out) due to existing clashes after school on training day. Teacher made him try out, now there's trouble because he got in even though he can't make training. When the teacher scolded me about it I reminded him that I had said he shouldn't be in the team because he can't make training. The reply was "Oh I know you did. I just thought.....(long pause) um, just thought......" He was well-aware of my simple message...just thought to ignore it.
Our 4th gifted child has just started school. Following his school visits we were advised by the school that the Ministry of Education was to be called in to help with his unmanageable behaviour. This didn't eventuate...probably because our son's behaviour was not destructive or unkind rather overly enthusiastic and energetic so I doubt he fit the criteria needed to have the Ministry called in. He has now been at school for 5 rocky weeks and we are taking one day at a time!
Most gifted kids seem to have some issues at school...we had numerous problems in the school system with our 3 older sons as well. It doesn't seem to matter how many assessments or evaluations you provide to the school, the problem is that most schools don't have staff who understand gifted children and their needs.
I think that all schools should be required to have 1-2 teachers who regularly attend workshops/symposiums on gifted education. Teachers need to be able to recognise the signs of giftedness (often by behavioural traits) and, once a child is identified, how to teach them effectively.
The Government has stated that schools need to provide for gifted children yet without this understanding, teachers are working blindly, often with no idea of what giftedness means. Adequate training for teachers is essential.
I'm going thru the process of letting our teacher discover our 5yrs abilities.
The teacher has done ok with reading after she tested him (he reads at about 8-9yr level) and she has started giving more appropriate chapter books which he has been enjoying more than the normal 5yr old readers which were fairly simple for him after I asked what books she had which were more challenging.
I'm now trying to get his maths sorted. I'm not too sure if she has yet seem his abilities and I don't think she has done any testing yet. It is very frustrating to hear he is doing counting on dice when we are working on mulitplications etc with him at home. Teaher was surprised that we mentioned 5 yr said it was boring!
After 1 discussion with the teacher she noted that she was very limited as 5yr is in Prep (we are in au) and that her resources don't allow her to stretch him much and that perhaps in the future he will be helped more. Almost as if a 5yr old doesn't have the same learning rights!
It is hard as the teacher does just seem to be out of her depth and very limited in resourcing to help - I wish every school had a G & T teacher support!
Our best experience so far has been with a teacher who had her own gifted child and who read our child's assessment, took it on board and worked with it. Because she 'got' giftedness we didn't feel like pushy parents when we talked to her about various issues.
There has been one teacher who asked a couple of times 'how far do you want him to go at this age?' by which she meant he's gone far enough ahead and it's going to cause problems later. It was very difficult to convince her that not being challenged now was what was going to cause problems later.
I also get annoyed that primary schools get so wound up about what is going to happen at secondary school if the primary school accelerates a child. This is something for parents and the secondary school to figure out and the research is pretty clear that in most cases nothing bad is going to happen. Schools need to trust parents on this one. I say this as a secondary school teacher.
Had a meeting about daughter's behaviour and giftedness. It seems we listened to all of their concerns, thanked them for the supportive job they were doing with her difficult behaviour and were understanding and pleased with their strategies which were positive and working well.
Then it came time to talk about giftedness. Well they read the report and that's fine but said "let's not jump to any conclusions it's best to let these things lead us where they may." Then told us we were trying to pigeon hole DD into a role rather than being open to change.
When we discussed extension they said perhaps it wasn't the school for DD and that she needs to be ready emotionally for extension not just intellectually. Of course she has emotional meltdowns so I don't believe she will ever be "ready" and perhaps this is what they are counting on so no IEP needs to be given. They have a "wait and see" approach.
The message seems to be "listen to us and we'll decide when to listen to you" so we're all on the "same page" which actually means we move onto their page not forge a page together.
So basically, we learn that these meetings are updates of behaviour progress rather than an opportunity to discuss learning openly.
Sigh. Where is a gifted five day school when we need one?
"Just had a meeting" - sorry to hear of your experience. I think the gifted 5-day school is called home education, but sadly, that's not for everyone for various reasons.
Your story reminds me of one of our 'meetings' with the gate coordinator, teacher, and principal, in an attempt to get an IEP for our twice-accelerated, EG, bullied underachiever. So many issues.... We didn't get an IEP but we did get to read some of another child's journal (can you believe that; I initially refused to until the principal said I needed to to see what our kid's behavior was doing to others). This was "evidence" of our child's behaviour issues and our parenting.
Among other things, the other child had complained about our child reading age-inappropriate books. We wanted an IEP but clearly we were pushy and pushing our child was causing problems, as evidenced by our child having an age-inappropriate book and 'offending' another child. The whole meeting was about this. And we were scolded like kids for letting our child read this book. I didn't even KNOW our child had read this book, and my confusion over that didn't help matters.
A couple of weeks later we got an 'overdue library book' notice. It was for
"that" book. The book in question was from the school library. We had NOT seen the book because it had NEVER COME HOME.
Our IEP meeting turned into a big lecture for us on our child being given inappropriate reading material blah blah blah - NO IEP discussion - only for us to find out that the book was issued by the school, and read at school. We did write to the principal about this but of course NEVER GOT A REPLY.
Every damn meeting we had - they started by mentioning something about our child's "behaviour".
I'll give them a book alright - one day I am going to put all of this in a document and make a formal complaint. Haven't done it yet but the treatment of our child has been DISGRACEFUL. I'll do it when I've calmed down.
so, when a 4 year old has taught themselves to read (reads 95 pg book in a day), and is busy counting to a million, can do simple fractions, count in multiples of 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10....which as a mum I would equate to about age 8, the teachers say amazing. Then when this child is 9/10, we have to fight for a grade skip, after 6 mos at school said child is now finally in yr 9 maths and everyone thinks I'm pushing my child. Last I checked I'm the one trying to keep up with these kids. If their 4 yrs ahead at age 4, shouldn't they be at least 4 years ahead at age 9/10?
Annoyed Anon, what was the book? I'm intrigued that it was 'age- inappropriate' yet they issued it to your child. I guess the principal didn't reply because they felt foolish for not checking the facts, but an apology would have been nice.
I totally support parents of gifted children and their need to be heard by educators. All of us 'educators' need to learn to listen to parents. Parents do know when their child is gifted; how they are different and what their learning needs are. Gifted children with advanced literacy and numeracy skills are not the result of 'pushy' parents. All parents of gifted children know that they are not imposing learning on their child but responding to their child's demands to learn. Sue I support your putting together a presentation for teachers. If I can be practically helpful don't hesitate to contact me. I have worked with gifted children as a teacher, psychologist and counsellor and I am the mother of 4 interestingly different adult children.
Frustrated - can't recall the title but it was one of the Jacqueline Wilson ones.
I recall having a look at the book myself, and it certainly should not have been in the school library, and not simply because the themes are "difficult".
Jacqueline Wilson writes for different ages and this was one intended for older kids/teens. I remember someone in a bookstore telling me that many people aren't aware that she also writes for older children (despite the fact that the intended age tends to be on the cover).
and thyra - at least your child is finally getting the maths.
My child made pretty close to zilch progress in primary school in maths. Not only that, but abilities and skills appear to have been LOST. Could add, subtract, multiply and divide, among other things before starting school - now is really struggling with numeracy. I don't know what they did at that school that a child can come out WORSE in maths after years there...but it happened with ours.
My son went to school knowing basic maths facts, I believed that was his area of strength (it has turned out to be art and english), however when in class he 'knew' the answer but couldn't explain the process he failed (even though the answer was correct) so here we are 6 years later with a bright fellow who stills believes he can't do maths, because that's all he heard in the first two years (even with a credit pass on ICAS that I got him to do to help him see he can do it as he wasn't required to show too much working out). The damage done in the early years lives with these kids for much much longer.
I can relate to the maths issue too. My son was confident and achieving highly in maths up until the end of year 3. Then in year 4 he had a teacher who completely shot his confidence to bits (she told him that he needed to accept that he wasn't as clever as his parents thought he was - I have a post on that earlier in this thread). His confidence in maths is still extremely fragile despite being in an accelerate class for maths at high school. Sometimes I wonder if teachers are aware how much damage they can do.
Rachel - interestingly, my son, who showed strengths in maths/science when he was 8, is now showing that his strength is in languages now he is at high school.
I've found this thread really affirming, it is sad that so many of us have had bad experiences with our gifted children and their teachers but it is encouraging to know that we aren't alone and can share and support one another.
Rachel and Anon - it is sad that other kids experience this too, but, we can support each other. We too have dealt with the "I don't know how I got the answer, I just got it" issues. I've personally had to think quite hard when trying to go over 'strategies' with the kids because *I* can't tell you how I get an answer when given a problem to solve. I guess whatever strategies we (adults and gifted kids) use either become so automatic, or happen so very quickly....that we're unable to give a step-by-step recount.
Interesting that you each say that the arts or language are your kids' strengths now. My child is the same. Somewhere along the way my kid has been "pigeon-holed". It's almost as if teachers think "this kid is creative" or "this kid is good at languages" so therefore the child can't be good at maths. I also wonder how many kids with a natural ability for mathematics don't achieve as highly as they could in literacy etc - because teachers assume that because he's good at maths and science he can't be good at English.
And of course the kids start to see the "other" subject as a strength, it becomes part of their identity.
What we find ironic is that when our child was younger and assessed, *numeracy and mathemetical concepts* were the areas of greatest strength. We noticed it, and the assessment clearly indicated it.
Now everyone assumes that my verbal and dramatic child with a high reading age and great imagination who can't tell you how he figures out maths problems must have a 'creative' mind AND THEREFORE not a 'logical mathematical one'.
Having a 22yr old who HATED school with a passion, spent more time hiding in the toilets or library than playing at lunchtimes, constantly bullied and a total disruption in the classroom I have a really good idea of what happens when school fail to recognise a child's potential. Unfortunately for my son I also missed his potential and didn't leap in and save the day for him, leading to a teacher rocking up on my doorstep when he was in form two to tell me he'd scored 96 to 99% on his SAT tests.... I just shrugged and said "yeah he's bright I'd expect him to score well" - I had no idea what SAT tests were and assumed that out of 100 that they were ok scores- I was a kid who used to get 100/ 100 so he could have done better. The teacher was in a total tizz because my son had been spending most of the day sitting in the hallway because he was too disruptive to be in the classroom and the school thought he was intellectually challenged - he never produced any work, and when he did he struggled horribly with handwriting (they seemed to fail to notice the massive books he was reading!)
Of course his parent teacher interviews and reports were all "he could try harder" but they never TOLD me he was not in class most of the time or that he was failing so badly, they had just labeled him and not bothered to look any further.
So what happens if the parents don't see the brightness of their child because to them their child is just "normal", and if the school doesn't step up, the kid ends up bored, disruptive and scores badly... My son thought he was stupid, really honestly thought he was a useless thick dumb kid (in his words ) and when I told him his test results the look on his face was like a burst of sunshine as he finally realised he was NOT stupid!
I've also had the opposite situation where my middle daughter was put in every GATE programme available in the school and was only occasionally complaining of boredom, again I would never have picked up on her bright streak as she was slow to read and I honestly was a bit worried she wasn't very intelligent. (Yeah go the super slow Mum who misses it all)
Her older sister missed out on the GATE programme and she moaned about boredom all the time - this was a decile 10 school with the majority of kids being lawyers and doctors kids, so most kids were smarter than average anyway - high school meant repeating the last 2 yrs of primary school again... BORED TEENAGER yay! So I do wonder if high schools need some kind of catch the bright ones thing happening too - not cool when your kid is bored to tears and wasn't even in any extension classes just the schooling level was higher than the lower decile schools around the city.
I have a nearly 5yr old starting a decile 1 school soon and I'm really concerned what will happen, I don't know if I can honestly say my kids are gifted, none of them have read early, or done math or anything like that, they have good vocabs and pick stuff up/ things come easy but to me they are just normal. So it's up to the teachers and ME (and I've proved my uselessness at judging)... it would certainly be easier if all schools were equipped to pick up on which kids are bright and need more to stop them getting bored, it's hard enough at home keeping up with the demands to stave of the boredom monster - if he arrives everything goes to hell in a handbasket, and I can't see it being any different at school, bored non extended kids end up disruptive in some way.
Sorry for the massive ramble, just trying to say that sometimes the parents don't see it, and then what - great that the Min of Ed has insisted that G&T needs to be catered for, but if the teachers aren't equipped, and the parents aren't pushing doesn't that create huge cracks for kids to fall through?
I'm more aware now, but very wary of making myself "one of those parents" as I have NO EVIDENCE to back up my niggling feeling that maybe my kids might be a shade smarter than average and might need a bit more extending....
I've also had the experience of being told that my children can't be gifted because they aren't good at maths! When the primary school my kids attend set up a GATE programme, it was only for maths - it was like that was the only area that kids could be gifted in and all gifted kids would be excelling at maths. Getting a distinction in ICAS maths seemed to be the criteria for being considered gifted.
What is more scary to me than schools not recognising gifted kids, is schools having crazy criteria like "excels at maths" for selecting kids for gifted programmes. None of my gifted kids have achieved highly in maths.
All these posts make me want to SCREAM!!! When will someone enlighten the world (and some educators) we are not being precious about our special kids but screaming for help and awareness!!
ARGGGGG!!! I hear you all bashing your head against the wall with me. Is there something we can do to change this? I can't imagine there is an answer when there are parents saying their kids are "special" and hothousing, and interfering with the true nature of giftedness with all its issues that many of us in this forum are experiencing with our kids.
Perhaps State-funded abridged assessment that could be conducted by RTLBs similar to what is conducted to allow students at the other end of the spectrum access to further resources. Although I suspect that a problem acknowledged is a problem to be addressed and it is easier for the Ministry to be happy with children 'meeting the National Standards' and pat themselves on the back as 'job done'.
I'm about to go down the assessment road for DD (#2 child) as school won't accept that if DS is HG then DD is highly likely to be MG at least.
Annoyed Anon - my 10yr old was also 2-3 years ahead in all areas before starting school but by yr 3 was average and by yr 4 struggling in some subjects. We had been told by several psychologists that this would happen if our son wasn't accelerated as learning becomes boring and the child does not develop a good 'work ethic' by having to work hard in their initial years at school. The school refused to listen (due to possible long term social aspects despite my son being extremely confident and social) so now we are playing catchup. He is now in yr 5 and gradually making progress again - thank goodness for one day school, explorers club etc.
Rachel - my 15 yr old son also struggled with showing his working out for maths. He really didn't know how he came up with the answer he just did. He is currently doing Cambridge IGCSE extended maths in which he needs to show both working out and the answer. He is currently going to a tutor to assist in finding out HOW he arrives at the answers he does (usually correct)!
My now considerable experience tells me that you must organise your childs education yourself with school as part of it. Another writer here has said somethibg similar. What I mean by that is - I pull her out to go to every extension opportunity I can find. I have organised schooltime tutors in and out of school. She has attended One Day School. I research what is available, because sometimes schools don't take up opportunities that are offered to them for extension eg. travelling university - and I arrange to attend independenly. DON'T listen when the school whines that "attendance equals achievement". You already know that isn't so. School can offer some rewards but they're not necessarily academic. Don't wait for them to do the job. Good luck.
Shar, have faith in yourself as their parent. Perhaps a heart to heart with your 22 yr old about how to do things for/with your youngest. Agree with Janet about not being shy to take kids out of school for a day of rock climbing or meet their favorite author or local poetry reading. Whatever extension you can offer seems to curb boredom for mine. Their attendance might be lacking but their effort in making up the work required in a shorter time shows commitment and fosters a good work ethic. Their school results prove that attendance does not equal academic achievement.
Love the ideas of organising it yourself, and the idea of the odd day off to help meet their needs. My younger is at a school that interrogates me when I phone in saying my child will be absent. More often than not my child is sick - with the occasional sanity-saving day thrown in - but the skeptical tone is unreal. What I can't understand is that if they suspect we're lying to give the child a day off, then why can't they sit down and consider *why* we might feel a need to do so.
I don't want to create more troubles for my kids and wouldn't do this but part of me would love them to be absent for about a month without applying for an exemption. Then when someone comes down hard on us for truancy, we'd tell them every reason why.
Still planning on a long-winded complaint against one school.
Many Thanks for your feedback. I really appreciated the thought and time that went into it. I found it useful when compiling my presentation. The presentation and symposium went well. All speakers and presenters at the symposium, including myself, will have their presentations posted on www.tki.govt.nz. Well worth a visit.
Many Thanks and Kind Regards
Might be too late to add to this, but have also had my frustrations, and I am also a primary teacher, though not at the school where DD was going at the time. She had 'oddities' and certainly seemed to pick up maths faster than most around her...After a psych report that placed her as moderately gifted (95th overall), the principal proceeded to tell me that he wasn't going to say she was gifted. (I was very reticient about the whole thing, found it embarassing to talk about, and he basically knocked my confidence back to zero for a while) .He then proceeded to block every attempt to have her placed in an older class for math, extension groups etc.
What most peed me off about this incident is that this was child number three for me, and my 7th year of association with the school. I had helped out on the PTA for many years, and was generally held to be a reasonable person. All that changed in the microsecond that it took me to mention the word 'gifted'. Suddenly out of nowhere I was a problem, pushy parent.
In the end I gave up, and transferred my girls to the Dec 10 school I relieved in, where at least DD got to mix with other kids who were also 'gifted' though most of them were unassessed. She also got to do things like ICAS and the Technology Challenge. Although I sent her to ODS for a while, and the teachers were aware of this, I just kept my mouth shut about her being gifted, simply not worth the nonsense...
Oh, and it turns out that after 3 weeks of school (ie as a New Entrant) DD was able to tell the teacher that 50 and 50 was 100. i know that this is not exceptional, but it is a sign, when a kid is a new entrant, that they are not functioning at quite the same level as their more neurotypical friends. DShe did other things in this ilk, too. The teacher did not bother to inform me of how she was performing at school, nor did she bother to give her anything beyond the usual 'Count these objects- up to 20- objects right in front of you' stuff. No wonder the poor kid was trying to do her 10 year old brother's homework at home - she must have beeb bored out of her tree.
Sorry for the rant - it just all gets so annoying. As a NE teacher myself at the moment, I can do something positive though - I have already been encouraging one set of parents to get their son assessed, and am working on another. The girl just seems to think outside the box...Maybe am leaning too far the other way, LOL!
Hi. Reading this from the United States. My experience has been the same. Its been heartbreaking watching my 7 year old's teacher try to "prove" that my daughter isn't gifted, even though she has the highest scores in her grade in our "district" about five different schools. The GATE coordinator has recommended that she be move up a "grade" beginning in January. I hope it works out. I live just outside of Chicago, and these teachers are paid very well, and only work 8 months a year. I am very disappointed in the level of resentment towards giftedness. Thanks to all for sharing.
I have talked the teacher that my child is gifted. And I wish she can have learning at best level to meet gifted children's needs.
I got:" There are so many great childre in this school. Another girl in classroom is also great. You should trust teachers. Teacher know what they should do. Your child is doing what she should do. Don't push. The children should have plenty time to play........"
Then she talked about my daughter's weakness -- Comprehension of reading. Teacher said my daughter has to solve this problem then she can move forward. As a parent, I don't think it is big problem because my child is bi-lingual and English is her second language. She can read very well on her age, comprehension of reading is only her lightly weakness. I believe she will be fine after long time school time (she has started to school for 1 month).
Oh Cindy, I feel for you and your daughter. Many of us on this forum have had very similar experiences.
I wish I could offer some advice, hopefully people will have better ways of dealing with this teacher. Some may suggest offering to help in her classroom, if possible, to work on your relationship with her. She clearly wants to 'know best' so if there are ways of pretending that she does (and it would be pretending IMO) it might make her soften and relax a bit more towards you, perhaps make her more willing to listen. For example, if she gives your child some work you could tell her how much your child LOVES that work, it was so great for her. Then you could ask her advice on whether you think ..... (some extra work you bring in) would help build on this, since your daughter is so keen ??? If you can get this teacher believing that she is the one who can see what your child needs, then that might help.
Sadly though, my experience is that when you have a teacher who tells you how great the other kids other, that you should trust teachers and not push, and then points out your child's weaknesses - you are going to find it very difficult to have a good partnership with that teacher. I don't wish to sound negative, but my advice would be to go straight to the gifted coordinator, or principal - someone other than the teacher. And if you can, and it wouldn't be too disruptive to your child, look for either a change of teacher completely, or, seek some time out of that classroom, perhaps trying some time in a year 1 class, some parts of the day?
How long will your daughter be in the class for? Is it an option to move your daughter straight into a year 1 class? (I assume she is a new entrant)? This wouldn't just be for 'harder work' but for a change of teacher.
Good luck, I hope something works. Unfortunately, in my own experience the best thing when encountering a teacher like that is to run out of there. Fast. Some teachers are *very* 'anti-gifted' (or perhaps more accurately 'anti-parents-of-the-gifted'.
Hope you can get your child into a class with a good teacher who likes to work with gifted children. Our boy is Yr1 and has a wonderful teacher. He also reads 3/4 yrs above and maths 4/5 yrs above his age but teacher said he's "not reading for comprehension" at that level.
Now he has reading at his level, and a different reader with "fun" stories that he's interested in at a lower reading level. These he reads for understanding, then gives a verbal presentation to his class about that story. A bit of preparation goes into this process but he loves it. His teacher lets us know what her plan is for him.
We have a "reading log" that we fill out at home about books he likes reading for fun to help his teacher find good stories that he'll enjoy.
He has maths work at his level. Some on the computer, some worksheets.
His teacher gets him, laughs with his jokes, and watches out that he's not bored.
His school only has resources for 45 min/week one-on-one time with a specialist. Some weeks he gets "pulled out of class" more often. I'm not worried because he's enjoying schol.
I think all children deserve a teacher who is interested in them personally and can challenge them individually. His teacher has this year enrolled in teacher training for gifted and talented children.
Which school your son is in? You have choosed the right school, haven't you?
I agree that teacher is very important. Also it will be much helpful the teacher can be enrolled in teacher training for gifted and talented children.
My daughter is in year1 and one term nearly has passed. Her reading and writing has improved lightly. Her Math doesn't go forward. She's still learning the counting with her peers even though her math in on year3 level. So sad about it.