Thursday, February 12, 2015

Don't Blink

Pennsylvania is actually ahead of the game when it comes to programming for gifted kids.  In Pennsylvania, Teachers of the Gifted are limited to 65 students with actual gifted labels, if they have a full-time gifted assignment.  (My top is 53 because of the ever-popular non-gifted activity, Information Literacy).

 For me, the state regulations, CHAPTER 16,  is a good thing, because it involves job security, now that I've done as much graduate work in the topic as I have.  Today I spoke to one of our district psychologists, already attempting to predict my caseload for the 2015-2016 school year.    He was able to enlighten me about students awaiting testing and potential identification, that could potentially add to our numbers next year.  It's hard to believe that while there is still snow on the ground, we're thinking past the lazy, hazy, crazy (how the heck can they be lazy AND crazy?) days of summer, but we are.  

 Marching Orders.


It's a bittersweet annual event for me as I delete the names of the graduating seniors on the top of the list, and work with my elementary counterpart to figure out how we are going to divide the identified gifted population in our district within the maximum caseload established by the state, and still provide services to everyone in some sort of logical schedule configuration.  

Some of the names at the senior level this year have been students of mine for more than a decade.  In two cases, I've been their TOG since grade ONE.  Talk about an interesting "how long have you known this student and in what context?" Common App question!

But time marches on, as they say.  The faces change, the names are different, but each of these kids leaves footprints on my heart.  It's thrilling to get a text, a phone call, or a facebook message of an amazing success story from college.   It is actually a pleasure to have a visit or an email from a former student explaining the value of lessons learned while working on a project in high school.  (National History Day often tops the list of commentary!)  There are probably few careers, other than educators, where individuals get to know "the rest of the story" after working with someone for a year or more, and I count that as a blessing.

The thought that my current first graders will graduate the year that I turn 65 is almost more than I can bear.  I know how quickly the last twelve years have passed -- every time I look at Alex and Zach and Ben, wondering where those little boys that hugged me in an elementary classroom yesterday.  (It was just yesterday, right?)   How quickly will the next twelve fly?

Perhaps I'm waxing philosophically after yesterday's retrospective guest blog.  Or maybe it's the fact that last night I outlined the Themes in Literature courses for the next four years to incoming freshmen parents.  I feel like I may finally have a handle on this high school thing, and I'm kind of afraid to blink, fearing it will all be over. 

Whatever the reason, I'm chilling for the next four days, dabbling to improve some lesson plans and grading some papers.  It's President's Day weekend, the last long stretch as we head towards commencement.

Don't Blink.