Dr. Maria Katsaros-Molzahn
WATG Secretary and Membership Chairperson
To say that a lot resonated with me during the 2022 WATG conference would be an understatement.Trying to organize these thoughts into one cohesive reflection might take some time. However, one speaker truly captured the essence of this critical time in our collective educational history, Colin Seale. I don’t take fan pictures, and yet here I am, proud as Puck:
The question that arises is: why does this person and his message resonate with me so deeply? The truth is because he is a mirror; albeit, different gender and race, yet his story and my story are eerily similar. Moreover, his success, and my success come from access to enrichment during critical times in our personal lives. As he noted, it must be understood that Maslow + Bloom need to co-exist.
Maslow is a social scientist who explained that all people need to have their basic needs met before they can develop personal autonomy. Bloom’s Taxonomy focuses on academic readiness. According to Bloom, we all begin learning by remembering and then, with practice, we move up the pyramid. For years, educators have used these two models to explain learning progress. However, as Colin explained for underrepresented and underidentified kids, kind words without enrichment don’t do much. They need opportunities.
Colin and I were lucky. Somewhere, somehow, in our academic careers a teacher (for me) and an aide (for him) provided the guidance we needed just in time. In Colin’s case, an aide in second grade told his mother that she needed to test him for giftedness. He was that child that questioned everything, didn’t know how to sit still, and made life difficult for his teachers. For me, a seventh grade teacher opened the world of wonder and beauty. It should be noted that this person never showed intense interest in me as a person. Or maybe she did, but I was at such a low point that I failed to see it. Nonetheless, her passion and dedication to all of us opened up the world for me. Both Colin and I got lucky; however, it shouldn’t be a matter of luck.
As parents/caregivers, educators, and advocates there are steps we can take to ensure that EACH child has access to opportunities. Joining the Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted is a great first step https://www.watg.org/membership.html. Our organization works hard to educate and advocate for gifted individuals, especially children. We are dedicated to the interests of educators and parents/caregivers as they serve children. As members, parents/caregivers have access to reduced rates and special workshops such as the Sunday pre-conference day we offered at this year’s fall conference. Through our organization, parents/caregivers have opportunities to meet more people with similar children. Together they can share parenting tips, advice, and resources.
One current opportunity is our newly formed Parent Book Club. In this club, we will be reading and discussing Raisin’ Brains. In this heartfelt and humorous story, author Karen Isaacson paints a wonderful picture of the trials, tribulations, and amazing adventures that come with parenting this population. We look forward to discussing this book as a community, and look forward to having you join us. All of the details you need are in the link above. Happy reading!