Everyone’s been saying all these brave things. Brave teachery things about taking a bullet for their kids.
Time for real talk. I really don’t know that I would serve as a human shield to block my students’ bodies from an armed assailant. I’m not saying I’d leave my kids high and dry, but I really don’t know what I’d have done.
I also have no clue what I’m going to say to my children tomorrow. On Friday, while everything was unfolding in Connecticut, my students were nominating each other as Wildcat Leaders. They are incredible children. I don’t know what to say to them tomorrow morning. I don’t know what they’re going to say to ME tomorrow morning.
This teacher is my hero. She protected her children, but she took care of herself too.
Gun control has been covered by people far more knowledgable than I could ever pretend to be. Mental health has been covered pretty thoroughly too. I’ve talked some about my own struggles with mental illness, but the biggest point I think I can add to this dialogue is the importance of supporting our high risk kids.
HIGH RISK KIDS. Usually that means students struggling academically or behaviorally, or students who come from poverty, or students who don’t have a traditionally “strong” support system at home. There’s no denying these students deserve our best work. But we need to include underperforming gifted kids in this definition too.
Whether it’s right or wrong, what attributes are assigned to many of the school shooters, from Columbine to Virginia Tech to Aurora to Newtown? NERDS. LONERS. SOCIAL OUTCASTS. Who do I have in my highly capable classroom? NERDS, LONERS, SOCIAL OUTCASTS. In my mind, it was only a matter of time before we learned Adam Lanza was an honors student.
My job as a highly capable program teacher is not just to provide my students with a rigorous, enriched education. My job is also to serve as a bridge for my students by empowering them to productively and patiently exist in the neuronormative world, which is often (in their minds) a frustrating, dull, annoying place.
Social skills need to be taught in all classrooms, it’s true. But these skills are CRITICAL for students living with intensity who oftentimes don’t know how to cope with all their feels.
Oftentimes, neither do their parents. Yes, we can often provide gifted kids with the academic differentiation they need in a gen ed classroom, but when do we ever honestly talk with them about dealing with a (in their minds) TOTALLY DENSE populace? I know we try to address this in our class meetings, and I also have a small group working on dealing with cognitive traps, but I don’t know what’s happening elsewhere. Can you give me some insight? (Please please please, leave notes in comments)
I’m a mess. GAH. Our babies need us. Children with brilliant mental gifts need us to help them learn to channel their power for good, not evil. If we don’t help them, they’re smart enough to find their own outlets. And too often, they’re unsavory outlets.
Also, not to be a jerk, but the Newtown school board voted earlier this fall to not provide advanced math students with additional instruction.
I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen tomorrow. I’ll definitely keep you posted.
Also. This is all very serious. So this video is pretty much the only thing that makes me smile right now.