What’s your role in your school in relation to gifted learners? Maybe you’re the gifted coordinator or perhaps they fall within your scope as the special needs teacher or maybe you’re that equally important person, the classroom teacher who cares.
How much is your role valued by management and by your colleagues? You may be one of the lucky ones, with support and understanding from management and fellow teachers – but the chances are that support for gifted learners is way down low when it comes to your school’s priorities.
For New Zealand teachers, there’s now an extra question: what will happen as the new Learning Support Coordinators take over responsibility for all learners with different needs, including the gifted? Reality suggests that, to tackle their massive workload, LS Coordinators are going to have to build a team and share some of those responsibilities for specific tasks.
And that’s where you come in – as the GEM!
In other words, as the Gifted Education Mentor. This is a deliberate change. For New Zealand teachers, it avoids confusion with the role of the Learning Support Coordinator. But wherever you are, a change like this causes people to stop and ask questions – often questions they’ve never really thought about before. What does a “GEM” do? How is it different from other roles? And (most importantly) why do we need one?
In brief, the concept of “mentor” is valuable in this situation because it carries with it such depth of meaning and tradition. It’s about wisdom and depth of knowledge, it’s about sharing, it’s about guidance, it’s about working alongside, not dictating, it’s about supporting the individual, whether that’s colleague or student.
How to become a GEM...
As well as knowing about practical strategies to share with teachers, the Gifted Education Mentor does need real insight into the inner world of the gifted child. He or she needs to understand how giftedness impacts on the child, how it shapes the child’s perceptions and responses, what it means for parents, what the positives are as well as the issues around giftedness...
And that’s where we come in. Our online certificate course is designed to achieve exactly this outcome. This is what we’re all about. If you want to take up this role in your school, then this is the course for you!