Okay. I know what you’re thinking. What’s the point … who has the luxury of looking for the best possible teacher for gifted students? Most parents are thankful just having a gifted teacher; and for many, even that is a stretch.
All parents want their children to have quality teachers, but what should parents of gifted children look for in their child’s teacher? Consider this … the gifted education program at your child’s school is only as good as its teachers.
There are certain qualities and qualifications that distinguish the best teachers of gifted students. Here is my ‘top ten’ list of things to look for in your child’s gifted teacher:
10) Highly intelligent, patient, empathetic, out-of-the-box thinker, and gt certified
9) Understands the social-emotional aspects of ‘giftedness’
8) Lifelong learner who is passionate about what they do
7) Seeks out learning opportunities and advocates for their students
6) Embraces technology as a teaching tool and understands the value of social media
5) Inspires their students; engenders a love of learning through modeling
4) Engages their students in the learning process
3) Facilitates learning through a variety of strategies such as Socratic teaching
2) Collaborates with their students; willing to have ideas questioned by students
1) Sees parents as partners
So maybe this is more than ten qualities, but you get the idea. If the personnel responsible for gifted education in your district are not supportive and passionate about what they do, you will have a sense of the quality of program being offered.
Another area to look at is how the school system supports their teachers. Do they require certification in gifted education for their gt teachers? Do they provide professional development in gifted education for all teachers? Is there a gifted education program in place at both the elementary and secondary level so that teachers can see a continuum of support for their efforts? Is there a genuine teacher evaluation system in place that can give teachers beneficial feedback on performance issues beyond student testing?
It’s a lot to consider and certainly more than most parents think they have the time to do. However, it is called responsibility and it is an important aspect of parenting that can’t be handed off to someone else. Just do it!