When I get to spend time with people who have experience far beyond mine in gifted education, people who truly understand why I do what I do, it’s both exhilarating and draining at the same time. (I slept for 10 hours last night…) I was in a room with mentors, teachers, scholars, and advocates. I realized that I am so very much at the beginning of this journey of advocacy and still have so much to learn.
I chose to work with the gifted population and immediately felt at home with them. Many of my friends and colleagues chose to teach where they do for perfectly good reasons too, and I honor that within them. The work we do, all of us, is so incredibly important and ALL of these kids matter. There is an educator advocate for every population of kids, with lots who overlap, and it’s in working together to support them all that everyone benefits.
When I get to be with people who understand these kids at an incredibly deep level, I feel at home too. I don’t feel like I have to fight or argue to get people to SEE these kids and talk them into understanding their quirks rather than dismissing them as lazy, stubborn, disrespectful. I know that they understand my giddiness when what my gut said turns out to be validated with data to support it. I know that they get it. They see the kids I describe. They were one of them.
A friend received a scholarship award at the CAEGTC – Colorado Academy of Educators for the Gifted, Talented, & Creative banquet yesterday. I’m so proud of her. She is one of a few that I seek out at trainings, ask for advice, trust with my frustrations. She works to make sure that the kids she serves are seen and supported by the other educators in her building.
I had my bucket filled by our keynote speaker, Jenny Hecht from Karuna Healing, LLC. She gets it. She’s real and what she shared touched exactly what I needed right then.
I spend a lot of time questioning how I can better serve these kids, be a better advocate for them, without getting stuck in the “drudgery zone” of the everyday minutia and tasks that don’t move the needle toward making a difference for these kids.
Last year, a friend pushed back on something I wanted to do, questioning my motivation. Her questions were valid ones, not with malicious intent, and while it hurt to hear that someone would think that my motivations were selfish, I could see how work I enjoy doing could be viewed that way. I thought about our discussion while I chatted with people at the banquet yesterday. I wondered if any of them had had a similar conversation–they’re now all very well known in the gifted community, with several spanning a variety of areas in education as a whole because of the work they’ve done.
I wish I could say that I have set plans and a roadmap for what I want to do in the gifted world. I feel sometimes like I’m using an outdated app that has me driving a Ford Focus on roads only intended for Jeeps with enormous tires and four wheel drive to get where I want to go. Luckily, I have people who have traveled this road already and can support me while I figure it out, making plans and setting goals for myself, both long and short term. Goals that will move me toward whatever it is I’m creating.
I hope you have people in your world to do the same for you.