Paris Andrew, TIP’s Director of Partnerships and Engagement, is here to help gifted students. She used to run the residential programming at TIP’s educational programs, and she is completing a PhD in related areas, so she knows what she’s talking about.
Sometimes the amount of learning I receive depends on the teacher of that subject more than the standards of that class. Right now, I don’t learn much in my Integrated Language Arts class. The teacher simply gives us assignments and grades very leniently saying, “You’re welcome,” like she is not teaching us anything and is letting us slack off as a reward.
Considering I am already in an accelerated course of learning, I don’t think I can transfer out. The problem is, I know the curriculum is interesting, but we just never really get around to learning it. How can I fix this problem without throwing my teacher under the bus? —Summer, seventh grade
Thanks for sharing about your observations in class. I know it can be tempting to lump all teachers into one bubble, but please know that every teacher you work with now and in the future will have their own unique approach for sharing the material. So will your bosses when you grow up and get a job.
Your job now, as a TIPster who loves learning new things and takes pride in her academic abilities, is to find ways to challenge and push yourself, no matter what educational environment you are in. Besides, this is a great life skill to have! Take what you have, take charge, and take yourself to a whole new level.
For example, as I read your reflections, it looks as though you have a good grip on your own personal learning style. This is something that will evolve over time, for sure. Nevertheless, one thing you can do is engage in an informal conversation with your teacher about your learning style and ways in which you are hoping to engage more deeply with the coursework.
Perhaps you can ask your teacher if you could do a capstone project to receive extra credit, or if you could help cocreate a version of a future lesson plan, or maybe even convene a group of classmates who want to join you in a special, additional group project together that you could present to the class. This could help give you more perspective on what goes into developing and delivering curriculum, while also giving your teacher a chance to learn more about your learning style and an alternative approach toward teaching. Win-Win!
Finally, there is nothing stopping you from taking the topics or ideas you hear in this class and exploring them on your own at a higher level by visiting reputable online resources and sites. For example, let’s say your teacher asks everyone to read To Kill a Mockingbird and write a paper about the components of justice Atticus Finch was pursuing. Maybe that turns out to be easy for you, so you write the paper in half an hour and get an A on it. Good for you. Now go further.
Search online to find out what high schoolers are discussing while studying To Kill a Mockingbird. (Hint: type in the name of the book and the words high school curriculum). Still too easy? Look up college curriculum that references the same book. Or take the time to look into criminal justice…or what the courts and laws were like in the time the book was written versus now, then figure out why things have changed…or find an online test about the book for older students and see how you do on it. You could even debate your conclusions with one of your parents or an older sibling to give your original thinking muscles a workout.
You get the idea: take what you learn in that class and use it as a base to explore on our own, expand your educational horizons, and challenge yourself to go deeper in understanding the topic. Learning to put motivation in action and feeding your curiosity in productive ways will take you far in life!
Have a question for Paris? Use our submission form to get the advice you need.