Spring has sprung! While you are enjoying the warm spring of Arizona and dreading the blazing heat of summer, you also may be concerned about how to request next year's teacher for your gifted child. How do you articulate your child's intensities? How do you articulate your child's fear of failure? Her intense emotions that can pop out unexpectedly? His struggle with boredom in class?
Schools today have veered away from "Teacher Request Forms" and now usually provide "Environmental Request Forms." This can be to the parent's benefit since it is hard for parents to know what resources are available on campus and what training teachers have had.
As parents of gifted students, we often identify emotionally with our child's needs before we are able to articulate them. On the Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted website's Advocacy page are tips to organize information on your child, including the articulating and organizing of your parental instincts and observations. Once this is done, you will have tools to express the needs of your child.
- Organizing data: Also known as gathering "Objective Assessments" and includes any test scores that have identified your child as gifted. See "Objective Assessments" on the GSG Advocacy page.
- Organizing opinions and observations: Also known as gathering "Subjective Assessments" and includes parent observations. See "Subjective Assessments" on the GSG Advocacy page.
- GSG provides three informal surveys for parents on the GSG Advocacy page to help articulate your observations of your gifted child. Once you complete these simple surveys, phrases such as the ones listed below will likely help you complete your school's Environmental Request Form.
- My gifted child has emotional and sensual gifted intensity(s) and will do best at school if he/she has a teacher who is trained in and has experience with gifted education strategies for working with gifted intensities and uses a firm, yet not overly loud voice for discipline and class management.
- My gifted child has a strong love of truth, equity and fair play but struggles with being practical in its application. My gifted child is also creative and inventive and may wish to do things out of step. My child will do best at school if he/she has a teacher who is trained in and has experience with gifted education strategies to support both the strengths and challenges of gifted students.
- My gifted child scored in the 99th percentile in quantitative reasoning on the CogAT. He will experience growth and do best with a teacher who is trained in and has experience with gifted education teaching strategies who will allow him to have subject pre-assessments and support him in learning at his own pace.
- My gifted child scored in the 98th percentile in non-verbal reasoning (visual-spatial learning style) on the CogAT. My child will experience growth with a teacher who is trained in and has experience with gifted education teaching strategies for visual-spatial learners and who actively supports and provides opportunities for creative expression.
Notice the common themes in the samples above:
- State your gifted child's need(s) and a struggle (subjective data). State that your child will do best/experience growth with a teacher trained in and has experience with gifted education teaching strategies.
- State your child's CogAT score (objective data) and what you hope a gifted trained teacher will do to support the need.
- Do you have questions about what it means to be identified as gifted by a "non-verbal" score? Then go the Visual-Spatial Learners page of the GSG website. There you will find very helpful information.
We cannot guarantee your child will receive a teacher who is the "perfect" fit, but we hope a "good fit" is likely with the above descriptors. Also, as a parent you will be empowered and educated on how to advocate for your child in a positive way. Knowing positive advocacy is more likely to help you build bridges with your school and teachers than anything else.