One might think that teaching gifted and talented kids is the “easy” job for teachers, but this is not the case. Keeping intelligent and gifted children challenged and interested can be a difficult task requiring a unique perspective on teaching and lesson planning.
Educators in gifted and talented programs can be found at all levels of teaching, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, as well as at independent educational programs, specialized schools or additional school programs. Learn about what it takes to be a gifted and talented teacher, the requirements to do the job, and what you’ll need to do to gain certification in this area.
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What Is a Gifted and Talented Teacher?
Students in gifted and talented programs are also known as high-ability or advanced students. These kids are those who are intellectually, creatively and academically beyond the average abilities of their grade level. This means that teachers who educate such students have to be able to present advanced subjects and lessons.
The gifted and talented teacher must have a high level of knowledge in their field, and be able to adequately challenge students, without overwhelming them with information that’s too advanced even for them. It requires walking a delicate balance in the classroom.
Often, education for advanced students requires an individualized approach to delivering content. This is especially true when one considers that while intellectual capacity may be beyond other kids their age, but their emotional development is on par with their peers.
Skills Required for Advanced Education Teachers
Because of the very nature of high-ability students, advanced educators need to have outstanding attention to detail, knowledge in their field and patience. Very often, highly intelligent students can be prone to learning and emotional disabilities, such as ADHD or autism spectrum disorder. This means teachers in such programs must be aware of these conditions and able to address them.
Teaching advanced students requires a great deal of sensitivity to the needs of children, as well as to differing cultures as they may find themselves in blended classrooms. On any given day a teacher will have to create and implement lesson plans, collaborate with administration and other educators, meet with parents regarding student progress or issues, help to oversee school activities and programs, grade assignments, and assess students for special needs.
Becoming a High-Ability Teacher
In order to become a high-ability educator, you will need to gain as much experience and training as possible. This leads most people entering the field to obtain at least a master’s degree in their field of study, and geared specifically towards teaching advanced students. You will also need to complete your state’s requirements for teaching certification, which includes exams, student teaching, and other requirements. You may also need to gain between three and five years of experience in the classroom before moving into a gifted program.
If you are interested in teaching advanced students at any level, you should start by checking out your state’s requirements for licensure. Explore our website for that information and more exciting careers for educators.