Not only do we need to be intentional about teaching gifted kids to self-advocate we also must reinforce the skill throughout their remaining school years.
Case in point? Amelia. She was one of those amazing kids who loved school, loved her friends, loved cross country, loved community service, loved creating works of art, loved Destination Imagination, and loved her teachers. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that her teachers loved her in return because of her energy, her positive attitude, her willingness to work hard.
And Amelia was always up for an intellectual challenge, including the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, one of the most academically demanding high school programs.
But half way through her first year of IB, Amelia walked into my office in tears. “I can’t do this,” she said. “I have too many mid-term deadlines during the same week. I can’t do a good job on anything when everything takes so much time, so much thought and energy.”
“Have you talked to your teachers about the deadlines?” I asked.
“OMG!” Amelia said. “You’ve been telling us about self-advocacy since 6th grade and now, for the first time, I need to do it!”
And guess who talked to each of her teachers, proposed alternative due dates, and did an extraordinary job on all of her IB assessments.
Actual self-advocacy is an ongoing process that students consciously or subconsciously must be comfortable using if and when they need it throughout their lives.