Help Wanted: Seeking Highly Qualified GT Teacher

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!


  1. Hi,

    No truer words have been spoken... it is really important to do this homework for parents.. I always tell folk that assessing the school for yourself is necessary, as even if a teacher or two are pro gifted, if the principal is not or the resource allocation/support for the teachers is not there, it could have a baring on long term support for student... I won't even start talking about gifted programs cause we do not have them over here in Ireland. ;-D Nice Post Lisa..

  2. From Josh Shaine:

    I don’t endorse every single piece of this, but I thought you might find it interesting.

    There are two factors that lead me to discount certification as a priority:
    a) So many states do not have certification or even endorsement in gifted.
    b) Generally, certification programs don’t seem to require that the GT-teachers-to-be actually grok their students. Many of the best GT teachers I know do not have any formal coursework in the field.

    I was struck, a few years ago, when I presented at the Texas state conference on gifted (TAGT). Speakers had to give out a code part way through their talks to permit the attendees to prove that they were at that session, as that was apparently a major problem at prior conferences.

    This doesn’t mean that school and system attitudes about gifted aren’t important - merely that the presence of a certified teacher is not, to me, proof of anything. (I grant I may have bias, as a teacher of gifted who does not have certification! But I don’t think that’s it.)

    I like the other 9 items on your list.


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