Recently several teachers were talking about how much they were looking forward to this school year. They said their focus is on meeting the needs of their students, even when those needs are very different. I asked how they planned to do that, given the wide range of abilities and student needs in the classroom. Their responses were interesting, but every teacher said they wanted to improve their relationship with all students and their families.
When I asked why that was a priority this coming school year, the teachers said that from the past year with virtual learning, their eyes were opened to the way their students lived at home. Having a glimpse into the home via the computer camera gave them a small view of family interaction, and the impact of the home itself on the learning atmosphere for the students.
The teachers also said that over the past year with school sometimes virtual, sometimes in person, and sometimes both, they had learned the importance of being flexible and accepting others and their ideas more positively to provide more effective learning opportunities for their students. Learning from these two experiences, these teachers realized they became better teachers. They realized the importance of getting to know the students and their families a little deeper than they had before and to value their ideas, rather than assuming the family was there to support whatever the teacher said to do, from homework to sleep schedule.
Next, I asked the teachers about their gifted students and the coming school year. The teachers all said they were looking forward to working with gifted students and their families in a new way because of this new respect for, and desire to work with, the family and the home. They were eager to put into action the fact that no two learners are the same. The teachers planned to enable gifted students to go deeper into topics and share their projects with the class, and to value parent and student insight into the student’s approach to learning. Most importantly, these teachers all said they were more prepared to learn from their students, including from their gifted students, rather than doubting that the students knew more than they did in many areas and needed to be moved ahead in the subject matter.
The teachers were all excited for the new school year and hoped students and their families would be willing to work together to have a year where gifted students thrive. It is a worthy goal for educators, students, and families.
The Power of Parents and Teachers as Partners
How to Foster a Collaborative Partnership with Your “Gifted” Child’s Teacher
Collaborative Conversation with Parents and Caregivers of Black Gifted Students
Collaboration Among All Educators to Meet the Needs of Gifted Learners
Teachers Partnering with Parents
Dr. Wanda Routier, Past Board Member
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