I think a visit to the land of the positive side of being gifted is in order. As both a teacher and a mother, I love working and being around these children. I have many stories about those “ah-ha!” moments, that for a gifted child, are so very thrilling.
This ah-ha exclamation is heard often when gifted children get excited about a sudden connection they have made. It is usually blurted out loudly and can be followed by, “I know the answer!” with possibly a raised hand which is waving wildly and most assuredly a bouncing in the seat. That is, if they can keep their seat in their excitement to share what they just discovered. In the classroom, this might not typically be welcome. Teachers work hard to manage classroom behavior since they have so many students and so little time to cover material before the next period, activity, or subject area. Much time initially is spent setting expectations for what is allowed with the intent to have a safe, welcoming, productive space for all students. Blurting out and interrupting are not usually encouraged. This is not to say that all teachers frown on this, but it can be seen as an unnecessary disruption during a lesson.
Personally, I welcome the controlled chaos because I understand this is how these students think. They move fastest when they are bouncing ideas off of each other and this can seem like things are out of control. The joy on their face because they. just. learned. something. is a beautiful thing. Let me say that again. They just learned something. It is amazing! Do you see it too? They need to tell everyone!
To these students, knowledge is everything. They live and breathe it and find joy in the acquiring of it. Many times these children are so far ahead of their peers in class that they have had to come to terms with the fact that school in many ways can be quite boring. It is no wonder that their excitement bubbles over when they figure out something new.
Teaching with the intent to challenge a room full of students who may know varying amounts of your accelerated subject is exciting and requires an enormous ability to think on your feet and be flexible. Seeing their excitement when they are learning something new and contrarily watching the struggle for that knowledge is very fulfilling. Having them thank you for the challenging lesson or for the fact that they finally learned something is alternately satisfying and a little sad at the same time. I will write later about giftedness in school and the challenges that brings.
I would love to hear your thoughts about this topic. Please feel free to comment above!