I haven't done one of these in a while. I officially teach a stand-alone GT class (although this past year only 8 of my kids had been identified as GT before we started the year). We do test 4-year olds in our process. Some people protest that, but I believe that the earlier you identify them, the earlier they can really be challenged. I love being the one to lay the foundation for all those critical thinking concepts. There are some myths about teaching GT kids that I hear a lot. Like for one how it's easier....LOL.
So how do you know if you are a GT teacher?
1) Your kiddos have just as many behavior issues as other classes do. Maybe even more so if they aren't being challenged enough.
2) Your students struggle academically. It's a myth that Gifted means academically superior. In some cases, absolutely that can be true. But in my Kinder class for at least the past few years, I have had zero students begin day one being able to truly read. And even if they can read, it's a natural ability-you have to teach reading backwards so they can learn the phonics rules which will help with spelling and fill in those gaps.
3) Your munchkins are very, very, very sensitive and there's lots of drama. My kids even know what that word means because I say it all the time. Someone taking your chair or you not knowing an answer on the test can genuinely seem like the end of the world!
4) It takes you sooooo long to prepare lessons so they can be engaging and novel. I spend so much time online (what did we do before the internet?) trying to find original ideas for projects. It is definitely a myth that teaching GT kids is easier--if you are doing it right anyway.
5) You have to light a fire under some kiddos. Many people think a child can't be GT if they don't like learning--I have several students like this in my classes every year. Not to mention there's a lot of literature out there on underachieving GT kids!
6) You will be asked questions 576 times per day. What does that word mean? Do fish drink water? If there were no people when dinosaurs lived, where did people come from? (how exactly do you explain evolution to a 5-year old :). I do very much encourage this, but boy, sometimes it makes it hard to just get through a lesson!
7) Your students really do try to incorporate their vocabulary words. We were talking about good citizenship the other day and one of my girls talked about "expiring her neighbors". I had to ask her a couple of times to find out what she meant-apparently she wanted to "expire" them to go out and help people too (inspire! :). Or my all time favorite-I said something sarcastic (I teach the kids about this concept-how you have to listen to an author's tone in determining the meaning). And he told me how he knew I was just being "psychotic"! :)
8) Your room is a little bit messier than that of the other teachers. We did an activity last week and I asked to use one of the teacher's drying racks--she didn't have a problem with it, they never paint. I'm not judging in any way--but I don't think I could ever make it through a whole year with no projects. How do you teach creativity never giving them an opportunity to show their learning in creative ways!
9) Your kids remember everything! Remember that time you made an off-hand comment about how you played in a snow forts when you were little, uh huh--they will bring that up 5 months later. Or that conversation you had with your neighboring teacher about how you have to split up the class on Friday-they are paying attention to that too. Now if I could just get them to remember to put their names on their papers! :)
10) You are just astounded and amazed at what these kiddos can achieve every single day.