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    #238939 - 06/22/17 11:56 AM GT Teachers at the High School level
    Old Dad Offline

    Registered: 07/30/12
    Posts: 423
    I'm wondering how many on the forum here have a GT teacher at the high school level....or if as often happens, those needs are addressed at the elementary and middle school level but then the attitude is often, "They have AP classes now, they'll be fine."

    I've seen outstanding high school GT teachers who focus on directing individual learning, help provide and find unique opportunities, facilitate advanced clubs and classes outside of the normal scope of high school, help students prepare for ACT / SAT, council for college applications and scholarships, and serve as a councilor not only academically but for social emotional needs that GT students.

    On the other hand, I've seen high school "GT Coordinators" who don't do much more than put students in AP classes that they think the student can handle.

    What is your experience?

    #238941 - 06/22/17 12:26 PM Re: GT Teachers at the High School level [Re: Old Dad]
    polarbear Offline

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Old Dad, are you interested for the sake of discussion or are you interested for specific reasons? The reason I ask - I'd rather not discuss our high school experience in a public forum as it will contain info that could potentially identify our location, but would be happy to discuss it via pm.


    #238942 - 06/22/17 12:40 PM Re: GT Teachers at the High School level [Re: Old Dad]
    Old Dad Offline

    Registered: 07/30/12
    Posts: 423
    I'm asking for the sake of discussion polarbear. High School GT and it's issues seldom gets much focus here on the forums OR in most high schools. It's good for the forum readers to get advice and hear issues discussed at this level prior to experiencing them.

    #238943 - 06/22/17 01:00 PM Re: GT Teachers at the High School level [Re: Old Dad]
    puffin Offline

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2031
    In NZ High School is the first time they get specialist teachers in academic subjects. Not having the same person teaching writing and maths is a big improvement. My kids aren't there yet though.

    #238944 - 06/22/17 01:05 PM Re: GT Teachers at the High School level [Re: Old Dad]
    nicoledad Offline

    Registered: 05/26/12
    Posts: 235
    My daughters is in the largest high school district in Illinois(not Chicago) with 12,000 kids and I know of no GT Coordinator. She has a new counselor this upcoming year(she will be a Sophomore). Never met the first one. The K-8 had a magnet program she was in for 6 years. The only thing I remember is I believe they had a gifted program for the first two years of high school but I believe it was eliminated.

    #238946 - 06/22/17 01:24 PM Re: GT Teachers at the High School level [Re: Old Dad]
    Val Offline

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    My kids have been to two high schools, and neither had a person with a GT-type job. That said, one teacher at each school was very G and very T, and it sure did show.

    At the first school (small dual enrollment program), this person was basically in charge of a lot of things, including the structure of the program. Her efforts are a big part of making the program as wonderful as it is. At the second school, the teacher I'm thinking of is obviously very smart, and she also likes to think about stuff in a careful way. She sees that her bright students make connections between different ideas they've learned about and has a way of encouraging them to keep doing that. She's turned the courses she teaches around and pretty much all of the kids respond very well to her.

    Edited by Val (06/22/17 01:25 PM)

    #238950 - 06/23/17 12:39 AM Re: GT Teachers at the High School level [Re: Old Dad]
    polarbear Offline

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: Old Dad
    I'm asking for the sake of discussion polarbear. High School GT and it's issues seldom gets much focus here on the forums OR in most high schools. It's good for the forum readers to get advice and hear issues discussed at this level prior to experiencing them.

    I agree Old Dad, and I'm sorry I'm not able to share more - but I've thought it through inside and out and can't think of a way to describe our local high school situation without making it possible to id my ds. If he wasn't 2e, it might be easier to keep his cover smile

    I do look forward to the discussion... thanks for bringing up the topic!


    #238951 - 06/23/17 12:54 AM Re: GT Teachers at the High School level [Re: Old Dad]
    HowlerKarma Offline

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    DD had the kind of teacher that Val has described. Luckily, this was also a person that not only taught at the GT middle school level, but also taught AP coursework at the high school, and served as 'lead/master/mentor' for other teachers in that subject.

    This meant that within the system's faults, such as they happened to be, she actually had quite a decent experience in that subject during those secondary years.

    OTOH, this story does not have an especially happy ending, I'm sorry to say, since the school board apparently butted heads with this teacher and terminated the person abruptly during DD's junior year of high school. sighhhh

    The upshot is this-- DD had three types of teachers in high school (she was 3y accelerated, and placed with a "GT" cohort in that grade placement, which was academically almost appropriate):

    1. The "I was a gifted child" teacher who... was (at most) moderately gifted, and didn't care to encounter someone at higher LOG. DD had a couple of real stinkers here, and they HATED truly gifted children, and it showed. They liked hardworking students. Not smart ones. And especially not too-smart-for-their-own-good ones, or those who were creative or playful. (Well. That pretty much eliminates 95% of the gifted children I have known, right there-- most of them enjoy themselves enormously when engaged, and at your expense when not.)

    2. The "whatever" type. Do the work, leave me alone, I'll leave you alone. This was most of DD's teachers. Ho-hum, but proficient with the curriculum, such as it was. A sort of don't-ask-don't-tell arrangement, really.

    3. The awesomesauce-with-hot-fudge-on-top teachers mentioned above. DD had a couple of these, and one additional teacher who 'got' what she was and just... enjoyed her for who she is. She has a wicked sense of humor, and when you keep her engaged she works pretty hard, as long as you are FAIR to her. It's just not that hard, really.

    I'd say that most of the AP courses she took varied between the second and third types. She never encountered a "good" GT-oriented teacher in a non-honors or non-AP course-- they tended to be the first type. They were rigid and just plain nasty sometimes. One teacher in particular, DD and her (all GT) posse basically harassed the poor teacher relentlessly, once they realized that she loathed them and could care less whether or not they learned anything. The teacher retaliated in grading, I am sorry to note-- and it's not the last time I saw this happen, either. I've even seen it happen in college. (Not to DD, but to her boyfriend, who ran afoul of an adjunct instructor in an online course after a testy exchange with another student who was, quite frankly, being woefully ignorant). DD got an A out of this instructor, and he did not. Given that their course performance was nearly identical and completed largely side-by-side, this was pure personality conflict.

    Happened to me a couple of times, too.

    That's the thing about GT students-- they don't grow out of that keenly tuned sense for an instructor who is just phoning it in, and they resent it, as often as not-- and are very capable of meting out punishment accordingly. Sometimes no matter the cost to themselves, as noted above. Scorched earth is no problem at some point, when the situation simply offends your basic sense of decency and all that is right in the world. grin blush

    IME, it's actually MORE important to get higher LOG teachers into teaching GT kids at the high school level, since the gap between what HG+ adolescents and MG adults can do is very narrow indeed (and in some cases definitely does not favor the adult charged with educating a classroom including them)-- but administrators seldom see it that way. Apparently.

    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

    #238952 - 06/23/17 07:04 AM Re: GT Teachers at the High School level [Re: Old Dad]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4224
    Originally Posted By: Old Dad
    It's good for the forum readers to get advice and hear issues discussed at this level prior to experiencing them.
    For some US public high schools and districts, the student experience may have a root which goes beyond individual teachers, as the teachers may not have much latitude to act independently; In districts which are policy incubators teacher compensation may be aligned to supporting district initiatives (including rewarding teachers for "influence" - those who become regional leaders in promulgating these initiatives to other districts, by speaking at conferences, writing articles, etc).

    As an example of policy, a quick web search shows online documents from different schools and districts which may combine and/or conflate and/or replace Gifted with AVID:

    While there may be overlap between any two groups of students, including Gifted and AVID (due to late-bloomers, students with EF function difficulties, study skills deficit, need for scaffolding, 2e, etc) ... a combined program may benefit AVID students at the expense of purely Gifted students who have no other label.

    Especially if a grant-funded research study may be underway within the school/district; Possibly something designed to explore whether high-fliers maintain their altitude intended to show that high-fliers do not maintain their altitude.

    Such conflation of Gifted programs and services with AVID programs and services may be a means to close achievement gaps and excellence gaps, by capping the growth of students at the top... while raising the school's overall scores by cultivating the skills of a broader tier of students.

    A brief roundup of a few specific techniques which may be encountered:
    - district hiring of additional school psychologists, school social workers, high school counselors, and/or legal council,
    - independent audit of a district's Gifted program (which may give hope of improvement in meeting needs of purely gifted students... but to which the district responds by changing semantics such as "gifted" to "advanced" or to "talent development" in order to better serve a different (larger) slice of students while abandoning the purely gifted),
    - GT coordinator who states his/her only duty toward gifted students is to record their outside activities,
    - high school counselor who tells gifted student his/her time could be better spent helping a student who actually needs assistance,
    - undermining gifted by supporting others in accomplishing the gifted student's original ideas, rather than supporting the gifted student who sought mentorship,
    - grading practices which may tend to show equal outcomes,
    - policies which lack transparency.

    Parents may wish to be alert to these tells, which may indicate that purely gifted children have been supplanted in Gifted programs; This may create a negative, unsupportive, and/or toxic environment for their gifted child.

    #238955 - 06/23/17 11:30 AM Re: GT Teachers at the High School level [Re: Old Dad]
    brilliantcp Offline

    Registered: 01/04/12
    Posts: 76
    Our DD had all three of the flavors that HowlerKarma lists, though not so lucky in category 3. In addition, DD had two other categories:

    4) Teachers that had too much going on in their lives to focus on teaching. DD had teachers with cancer and on chemo (multiple times), teachers experiencing a difficult pregnancy, teachers with new babies that were getting no sleep, and teachers with second jobs. While our family felt a great deal of empathy for their personal situations and anger at the district for not supporting the teachers adequately, we could not asses their ability to teach as almost no teaching occurred. (When the poor souls who were ill became too ill to attend, the district would fill in with week long substitutes for up to 2/3 of the school year, but that is a whole other topic. Suffice it to say the short term disability situation appears to be very poorly handled.)

    5) Teachers that the district did not allow to teach. These were the teachers that taught specialized classes with classes at multiple schools. This meant, in our district, that the teacher would never be available for after school or between class help, could not sponsor any clubs, could not meet with students or parents, had to move all their supplies multiple times every day, had reduced access to textbooks, and had a very high load of non-teaching activities (the paperwork for each school, the staff meetings, the required training, etc). Picture a choir teacher that runs from school to school and has no school provided sheet music for the students and has no ability to schedule rehearsals outside of class; or a German teacher (not the language DD took) with no textbooks, put on the foreign language committee for 2 middle schools and 2 high schools, that could not put up posters and had to clean every board and remove every trace of their "borrowed" classroom after each class.


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