Friday, October 24, 2014

Gifted in the Trenches

I try to get to school sometime between 6 and 6:15 each morning.  There is a certain satisfaction to being the one who turns on the lights in the hallway prior to unlocking the door.  For that brief moment, I feel like I am in control of my day.  

After that, all bets are off.

At 7:03, the office called, to report that a visitor had arrived.  A former student, who graduated in 2013, took the day off from his Co-op today (he's an engineering student at Drexel), and chose to spend half of it at Donegal.  I'm willing to bet that there are more than a few students who would NEVER opt to return to high school, voluntarily, at 7 am, but Alex did so -- in dress pants, dress shirt, and hand-tied bow tie.  We had a great visit, and Alex contributed quite a bit to the discussion on       da Vinci's "Sensazione" principle in my Themes in Lit class.  All in all, a wonderful day!



Gifted is an Island Sometimes...

 Visits from former students is not uncommon for gifted teachers.  for the most part, kids who have been identified and been part of a program have a connection to other students, and a safe zone for their sometimes crazy ideas.  In my room, weird stuff happens.  Yes, WEIRD.  Sometimes it's explainable, sometimes we just know that nobody would ever understand.  It's sort of like an inside secret handshake, and if that's what it takes to give amazing minds a place to belong, then so be it.

Sometimes it's superficially wrong, (like the suggestion to test a nature vs. nurture theory by placing infants on an island -- oh, but they need someone to care for them, so how about we have them cared for by -- wait for it -- MUTE NUNS.)  Other times, it makes no sense, until the whole plan can be fleshed out and embraced.  There aren't a lot of classes that you have the freedom or time to allow these side-tracked discussions, but the ability to relate the abstract idea to the topic at hand always seems to happen.

  Gifted kids are amazing in their willingness to be supportive of others coming through the ranks behind them.  They stop by to consult on National History Day projects, they share stories from college, give advice about surviving senior year, and even skype or ooVoo in to participate in discussions in their old high schools.  The gifted are (usually) excited about what enrichment is all about.  I'm not sure that the same enthusiasm is shared by many colleagues.  They get suspicious that kids seek refuge in our gifted rooms, and I suspect there's a fair amount of judgment about the value of the time spent away from "regular" classrooms.

As I moved to the junior high after lunch today, (after Alex left), I discovered that one of the JH kids had decided on GIFTED as a new acronym and posted it on the whiteboard.
Generally
Intelligent
Fabulous
Teachable
Entertaining
Delightful Students

Pretty much sums it up for the current crop of kids on our caseloads, and the ones who have graduated!