Earlier in the school year, I was approached to be on my school's High Ability team. I wasn't too interested at the time, but I'm always looking to add to my resume, so I decided to join. There are 4 of us on the team. In March, I was presented with the opportunity to go back to school and get my license in High Ability education. And it would be completely paid for by my school. Tuition, books, everything. How could I say no to free education?
I was nervous (and still not totally interested) but I said yes, applied to Ball State University, and was accepted into their graduate program. I then found out that my school is restructuring into multi-age classrooms (K-2 and 3-5) and that I would be teaching the High Ability K-2 class. Suddenly, I was so glad I was going to be taking these classes because I was stepping into a whole new territory.
I'm officially 2 weeks into my classes, and I have to say, Gifted and Talented education is SO interesting! I'm learning that these students are the exact opposite side of the spectrum of Special Education students, in that they need special instruction, and often have social/emotional issues. The bad thing is, that while special education gets a lot of federal and state funding (and they should), gifted students get no federal funding, and very little from the state. Everyone just assumes that these students will be fine, "because they're smart." But that's not always the case. 10% of high school dropout are gifted. 44% of students who had been identified as gifted in 1st grade are no longer gifted by 5th grade. Because we're not doing anything for them. These students have needs that are not being met in their general education classes. If we ignore their needs, they end up underachieving. Think of what we're robbing our world of. These students are the one who become the great doctors, lawyers, business giants, and researchers. If we don't give them what they need in school, we could be denying the world of some great innovators.
Clearly, you can tell I'm becoming passionate about this topic that I didn't give two hoots about a few months ago. Anyway, I'm knee deep in research papers and projects:
But I'm finding this "new normal" of coming home, changing into comfy clothes, and doing school work is sort of fun. I love learning new things, and since this is so relevant to what I'm going to be doing next year, it's really holding my interests. I'm taking two classes this summer and two classes next summer. Then I'll be able to get my license. After that I could see myself wanting to begin work for my Masters. We'll see!