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.
My teacher is the gifted and talented teacher at my school but she won’t let me into the GATE. What should I do to get in? —Cheerleader 4life
Dear Cheerleader 4life,
If I’m deciphering the potential acronym for GATE correctly, it sounds like you are interested in joining the “gifted and talented education” program at school. If that’s the case, it’s great to see you are looking to advocate on your own behalf so that you can pursue advanced studies. Remember that to participate in Duke TIP, you don’t have to be formally identified or a participant in your school’s GATE program. So you could take advantage of Duke TIP’s supplemental enrichment resources and accelerated programming online, over weekends, and in the summers.
It gets trickier when it comes to finding a way to join the gifted and talented program at our school, since every school has different procedures and qualification levels. Nonetheless, I understand that you have a desire to engage at an academic pace that may be more suited to your needs on a daily basis while at school.
So for starters, I would recommend that you talk with your parents or guardians and see if they can schedule a conference with your teacher to express your interest in the program and explore your qualifications. Remember that all of you are on the same side as your teacher and keep the meeting friendly and focused on what’s possible for you when it comes to accelerated instruction.
A next step would be for your family to meet with the lead coordinator of your GATE program, your school counselor, or the principal of your school. Visit the National Association for Gifted Children for more tips on how to advocate for entry into your gifted programs at your local school. You’ve got this!
Wishing you the best,
How do I feel normal when I’m on this site? I am eleven years old, I’m in sixth grade, and I’m in all advanced classes. Sometimes I feel really left out. Also, I moved here from Canada, so that doesn’t help. So, how am I supposed to cope being the only one in my class who’s like… me? —Valentina
I wish each and every visitor to this site was able to share their story. If they could, you would find out that you are more connected and have more in common with our network of academically talented students than you may think.
Our students come from all over world, have many different interests, and range from the super shy to the most outgoing kid in their school. But what all of you share is that you love learning and are at the top of your class. And that’s a very a strong bond! So continue to delve deeper into Duke TIP’s programs and services, like TIP’s Book Club or our online eInvestigators Program so you can connect to other TIP students. I promise you will discover other TIPsters just like you.
Finally, it’s hard not to feel different at certain times of life. When you enter a new school is one, and middle school is certainly another. But did you know that everyone feels that way at one time or another? And I do mean everyone.
The feeling of being the only one like you will follow you through a few more stages of your life—but that same feeling could help you identify what makes you unique, what you and you alone have to offer the world, and maybe even lead to a pathway to college or a career. So embrace what makes you different!
Think about how to leverage your unique qualities as superb attributes versus something to refute. You could start by keeping a journal and listing all the great things about yourself. If you feel lonely, list all the ways you are connected to others to remind yourself those feelings of being alone are only temporary feelings that will soon pass. Write stories about a character just like you. Make her into a superhero and imagine all the ways your unique qualities could be put to good use. Look for clubs you can join at school, or in your community, that are based on an interest you have—that will put you in contact with others who share that interest.
Finally, make sure you take part in activities that take you out of your head and bring you into the moment, like a sport you enjoy, or theater, or cooking, or a form of exercise like running and swimming. Sometimes when you’re very smart, your brain just needs a break and time to reset so it can gain some perspective! And know that eventually you will realize that one of the biggest steps forward in life is understanding and embracing what makes you unique. That’s the day you’ll take off like a supernova streaking through the skies. I’m excited to hear more about your journey and wish you the best of luck in being you!
Wishing you the best,
Have a question for Paris? Use our submission form to get the advice you need.