On Giftedness and Professionals as Parents…..
Giftedness and acknowledeging the parent piece of some professionals…
‘Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!’ – Dr. Seuss
It has really got to be said that teachers do have a very important place in the world. They are often part of the reason why a person ‘becomes’. I am sure anyone of us can look back on our personal histories and find one or two individuals that made great impressions on our youth, good or bad that may have influenced the path we chose to take in life. The point being Teachers do make a difference, be in no doubt, and especially to those who may not have other supportive structures in their lives.
And.. teachers come in a lot of shapes and forms.. as soon as one says ‘so and so taught’ me that….’ that so and so has become a teacher of something.. however, in this case I am speaking of those who have set out purposefully to become educators by focusing their energy in specific areas and obtaining an official recognition for this in the form of a degree/diploma or certification.
In the education sector, there are many who are seen or see themselves as professionals. We have University lecturers, who at times may not even have had any practical experience in their area of expertise (don’t get me wrong, many have had), but may offer a great deal in the theoretical aspects of their subjects. They have worked hard and long hours, thinking many thoughts, and writing thousands of words in order to get those elusive letters to follow their names, and help others with their struggles to gain the same. We also have the Practicing teachers, the ones who are on the ground and at the ‘white board’ (chalk face may no longer be relevant? ;-D)), having basic teaching degrees, maybe they don’t have as many letters after their names, maybe they just haven’t had the time or energy to go back and study and obtain these, but that does not mean that they do not have huge amounts of relative experience that may sometimes be much, much more ‘real’ than some of the theoretical. We also have peripheral professionals in education.. folks like educational psychologists, administrators, SEN support specialists, all whom have worked many years in their areas of expertise and rightly and deservedly have earned the right to be called professionals at what they do..
The thing is.. some of these folk have an added dimension.. and possibly one for which sadly not a lot of credit is given, however, quite possibly has been a much more eye-opening education and may at times have been truly daunting… even with all the professionally recognized letters and study which has gained them the respect and positions in which they work.. this dimension is sometimes the hardest of all to work through because sometimes all the training in the world may not give enough insight into this world, which is often governed more by instinct and individual needs and individual collections of traits and family and community dynamics… we’re talking parenthood here…
Let me backtrack just a second… this is not an added dimension that is only peculiar to professionals such as educators and those that work alongside them, but is an added dimension that is quite common for a lot of folk, professional (as defined by having a designated university degree in any area) or (as defined as an individual who gets ‘paid’ to provide expert experience in an area), or otherwise, (defined by who??) as non-professionals…
It has been heard many a time that ‘parenting is without a doubt the hardest job in the world’
I could add to that by saying that parenting special ed kids, whether their needs be in the realms of disability (hidden or otherwise), or exceptional ability, gifted (2E or otherwise) is potentially even more difficult.
I am only assuming this, don’t get me wrong, but I would imagine that it most likely took at least as much effort, or work to become a successful parent, and in this case, the (successful?) parent of a gifted child, as it did to become a licensed professional.
It is funny, after years of growing gifted kids at home, and dealing with schools, I can, not always, but with some regularity spot those parent-teachers/parent-professionals.. they are the one’s who, do not look bewildered at the 4 year old answering their first question to the child, with an initial ‘Well, actually ….. Instead, the teachers gaze turns and zero’s in on the child, and fires off a few more questions.. intent on ‘this could be one… ‘ , and then engages with the parent.. without feeling threatened.. It happens….
I believe that the extra 18-21 years that this person is spending/has spent, specialising and learning in how-to-bring-up-a-child-and-this-ones-a-gifted-child-and-survive… definitely merits recognition, perhaps equal to, in addition to, or beyond whatever other qualification they may have.. and should be owned and celebrated.. and recognised.. as no small feat..
Hmm I wonder… what extra letters should be awarded??
Years ago.. I used to think that Mother of Highly Able Child (MHAC) or, even, Dad Raising a Highly Able Child (DRAC) would be appropriate, until someone pointed out to me that it might be misunderstood as a made up degree.. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if some institution somewhere were to acknowledge this amazing amount of time and learning and made it real… ;-).. a real and recognised ‘Profession’ ;-)….
Wouldn’t it just? If it were you.. what acronym would you choose??