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Resume of a Former Teacher

As the end of yet another school year approaches some teachers are taking the initiative to create their class syllabi for the upcoming school year, some are looking for other teaching opportunities, and a growing number are contemplating leaving the profession altogether. A word from the wise, the initial excitement of a career change can soon lead to disappointment and disillusionment. I found a few things out the hard way, and as a result have at least five versions of my resume that showcase the skills and experiences I have acquired as a teacher in a way that best fits the job for which I am applying.

Interview

One of the most shocking revelations for me as I began preparing myself for a career   change was that most employers – whether in corporate America or non-profit -tend to infantize teachers and minimalize what we do. I have received many proverbial pats on the head at the end of an interview. These have toughened me up and taught me a great deal. Most of us have become accustomed to this type of treatment from our administrators, but to find this is how many “on the outside” also view us was a bit troubling. Even when I have been told by people in my social circle that they admire me for being a teacher, that teachers do not make nearly enough, it is because they see us as having the most stressful baby-sitting job in America.

If you are one of the many teachers thinking of leaving the Smart Board, faculty meetings, and chronic UTIs behind, let’s take a critical look at what you really know how to do.

Management/Supervisory: Teachers manage up to 30 or more people at least three times a day, depending upon whether they teach a block or traditional schedule. That can = totals of 100+ “employees”. Teachers conduct an equal number of performance evaluations every four to six weeks, with a final performance evaluation give to each “employee” at the end of the year.

Project Management: Teachers plan and oversee large and small-scale projects designed for both group and individual deployment.

Strategic Planning: Teachers must plan strategically in order to meet overall objectives for optimum ROI (Return on Investment). Teachers recognize that if they are unsuccessful in the onboarding process of their planned initiatives, that high turn-over and loss of revenue could result.

Conflict Management: Teachers must have and exercise strong conflict management and resolution skills for not only their students, but also in regard to parents and colleagues.

Data Collection and Analysis: Teachers have the ability to collect and assess data efficiently and often at a glance using both formal and informal measurements.

Communication Skills: Teachers communicate on average with over 100 people per day using various mediums from face to face, email, text messages, and even video conferencing.

Fiduciary/Budgeting: Teachers must plan budgetary expenses to ensure the work day needs of 100 or more individuals are met for 180 days of the year.

Research and Development: Teachers must research various topics and develop appropriate vehicles for conveyance and dissemination of information.

Public Relations: Teachers recognize that they are emissaries of their institutions and that their conduct is reflective upon their industry and the institutions with which they are employed. Teachers communicate with various stake-holders and community members in order to keep all parties apprised of goals and objectives.

Diversity and Inclusion: Teachers must create workspace that is inclusive for all individuals regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender/gender identity, or political affiliations.

These are just a few of the skills and knowledge teachers possess that can be translated into employment or even business ownership outside of education. Be prepared to pitch these skills and demonstrate through analogy and example how these are relatable and translatable skills.

As a Navy veteran, I remember leaving the service and joining the civilian workforce. Employers with whom I interviewed were always impressed with my skill set, but most of all they knew that as a U.S. Military veteran, I also had discipline and character.

Teachers have the discipline to get up and go to work 190 days per year whether they or even their children are ill. When they cannot be at work, they manage their classrooms remotely, as they are required to have lessons planned for substitutes.

Teachers have the character to influence and inspire the next generation. Few people can share how a boss has influenced or inspired them, nearly every successful person can name a teacher who has.

 

 

 

 

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Milestone Assessements Are Done, What Now?

Help       Just because the standardized testing we all know and love has finally come to an end, does not mean that school has. No matter what grade level you teach there is still much left to do for the remainder of the year; even for seniors. 

I told my junior students I am now focusing on getting them ready for their senior year. Their new teacher will love me for it. Besides finishing out the text book, there is no reason these students should not be getting a jump on resumes, learn how to fill out job applications, or write award-winning scholarship and college essays, the list can and does go on. 

The state and district-wide standardized tests, while they do factor into the class grade for most students, are not an accurate reflection of what students have actually learned in class. Students need to feel they have come to class every day for 180 days for a reason. Standardized tests do not make them feel that way. While the skills and foundational knowledge in class are transferable to these tests, the students are quick to recognize these test bear little resemblance to lessons taught and specific content learned daily. 

It is important that teachers not just pack it in now that these tests are over. English teachers can teach that favorite novel they just did not have time for prior to testing. Science and math teachers can pull out that STEM project they have been drooling over. History teachers can have their students work on a cumalative museum project. 

The last thing any of us want for the last two to three weeks of schools is to sit in idle boredom and have the kids with glazed over eyes texting and “liking” on their phones. Worse yet, skipping class. 

Some other ideas: 

  • Socratic Seminars
  • Create a Broadcast
  • Write and Act out a Play
  • Teacher for a Day
  • Film Critiques
  • Role Plays 
  • Create a Puzzle
  • Paint a Mobile Mural
  • Start a Fundraiser 

Do something. Your kids and your brain will thank you for it. 

Then… you can have a truly great summer!

 

Summer Vacation

Toxic School Environments Make Teachers Sick

Is your workplace a toxic environment? If there is more than one person per week out sick in your department, chances are it is. Before I left teaching one of the primary problems was the inability to take an actual sick day. You know, the kind when you are really sick. If I needed to take a sick day for myself or to attend to my daughter, my ethical compass would steer me away from that decision. My daughter and I ended up in school many times when we were unwell. This did, I admit, cause some resentment towards peers who seemed to take an average of at least two days off per month. While my sick days were building up, so was my stress level.

Cognitively, I understood why there were so many teachers out each week. Yet, I did not see the district or my school in particular doing anything to fix the problem. None of these teachers were bad teachers. It is just that education has gotten to the point that what is actually taught is irrelevant, and as long as students can be trained to pass tests like seals jumping through hoops, we do not need to invest a great deal of time immersing them into complicated plot lines, or delving into characters to determine motive. No, all we have to do is to make sure students are able to accurately identify which key term is associated with a cold passage read, and viola! We have done our jobs.

The sick days were needed because the toxicity of the school environment, of the district expectations which do not at all seem fitting with what I observed at the state or national level. So, the sick days are real because creativity is atrophying at lightning speed for teachers in our schools.

 On any given Friday as many as 25 teachers were out of a total of 290. That is nearly 10% of the teaching staff. By Wednesday each week what I began to call the “guilt” emails were circulating letting teachers know how many had already asked for Friday off. These emails ran up stress levels for many, myself included. You see, when my students came to my class after having at least one sub, and at times two on Friday, they were bored and restless. However, I had an engaging lesson ready to go, or more than likely an essay test or some activity to assess what was learned that week. Yes, even though their course scores did not factor into how well I was doing as a teacher, I knew that how they were doing in my class did matter to them.

 My soldering on ended up getting the better of me, however, because I was not taking time off from an environment that was becoming increasingly toxic. The overall lack of trust between administration and teachers was palpable, and it was permeating what had once been strong bonds between teachers. How can you trust your colleagues when you are having to lose your planning period at least once per week to cover their classes; and sometimes, when you are sick yourself?

 When situations like this occur in schools or other work environments, it is not because the teachers or employees are bad people, or are even irresponsible people. It is because leadership has either brought or introduced a toxin into the environment. When people love and are excited about their jobs, they do not miss work. There was never one meeting with the faculty at large or with individual departments to talk about the illness that was causing the need for sick days. There was no leadership accountability.

 When the work environment is toxic, it is trickle down. Toxic leadership leads to a toxic environment. Teachers need to be allowed their creativity for more than meeting a lettered standard. Good teachers meet those standards every day without having to write them on a board, or put them into a formalized lesson plan.

 If chefs in the finest restaurants were told they all had to cook the same meals on the same days, and that they had to survey restaurant patrons to collect data to determine if they were going to be allowed to be chefs anymore…they would take sick days too.

 One of the reasons for toxicity in the work environment is a lack of true diversity and inclusion. The current climate of many schools is that teachers are supposed to be the same, what I call Stepford Teachers, yet they are to differentiate the “standard fare” for their diverse classrooms so that every student can learn the same thing, and be able to apply it in the same way on a standardized test. That class is an example of a paradox. 

 If teachers cannot be diverse – using their individuality, their uniqueness and creativity – to diversify the lessons organically, then the entire concept of differentiation is missed. Teachers become teachers because they are creative people who have a desire to share their knowledge with others. Their knowledge, not what has been boxed and properly labeled for them.

 

 

 

Diversity and Inclusion Executive Summary for Cobb County School District, GA

Diversity and Community

Diverse Communities are Strong Communities

CCSD: One Goal, One Community Strong

Diversity for the Future of All

2017-2018 Diversity and Inclusion Plan

On Behalf of a Diverse and Growing Community

 

Submitted by

Jacqueline Burnett-Brown, PhD

 

May 17, 2017

 

 

Introduction

Cobb County School District’s Mission Statement Slogan is: One Team, One Goal. Their overall mission statement is Success for All Students. However, there is no sustainable Diversity & Inclusion Plan for Cobb County School District, one of the largest and most racially and culturally diverse districts in the state of GA. Students of color, differing cultures, and those with learning disabilities show the lowest academic performance of all CCSD students. A strong push towards actual inclusion of ALL students, teachers, and staff in an actionable, sustainable, and measureable way will increase student as well as teacher performance throughout the district. Research supports that when education systems adopt a multi-cultural approach to the curriculum, teachers feel more confident and students thrive (1).

PROPOSED SOLUTION

To achieve Cobb County School District’s primary objective of student achievement, there needs to be an implementation of district-wide diversity & inclusion initiatives into the Cobb County School District to include all leadership, teachers, and staff.

A Plan Designed for A Diverse School and Community

The current Diversity and Inclusion statement employed by the district has a permanent residence on the school district’s website. It is not a living instrument, the stated goals are in black and white, but they are not voiced to teachers, students, or parents. Diversity and Inclusion is more than lip service, it is more than annual cultural days and Black History Month. The proposed D&I plan is designed to take a top down approach to the implementation of diversity and inclusion from the district office, to the board members, each school, every teacher, student, parent, volunteer, support staff employed, as well as the community at large.

The Cost of Diversity

  • The district will generate a budget for salaried diversity and inclusion personnel.
  • The district will generate a budget for materials and technology to support D&I training initiatives.
  • The district will generate a budget for social and local media advertising of their D&I initiative.
  • The district will generate a budget for the recruitment and hiring of a diverse leadership, teaching, and support staff.
  • The district will generate a budget for multicultural text books and other academic resources.
  • The district will generate a schedule and budget for teacher professional learning days to be allocated for D&I training outside of normal school days.

The Benefits of Inclusion

Teachers feel more free to teach in an environment where they are free to discuss issues of race, culture, gender, and other differences2. When these are treated as controversial topics, and therefore considered taboo, it stifles teacher as well as student creativity (3). When teachers are teaching under the myth that they should be color (4) politically, and gender blind, they are teaching under oppression as they are disallowed the necessity as well as joy of seeing their students. Teachers are asked to differentiate, but are not allowed to discuss the ways in which we are all different (5), or to advocate for the rights to those differences (6,7).

In addition to culture and race, it is vital that gender, gender identity (8), and learning and physical disabilities9 are interwoven into the vision statement as well as the curriculum.

Infusing multiculturalism into the curriculum is inclusive of all students, as it allows them to react and interact with one another in a real and measurable way. Students of color and differing cultures often feel the curriculum is not designed for them, but rather for their White American counter-parts (10). Students who recognize their history and their culture11 in the curriculum are more motivated to learn (12), than when they do not.

Research supports that inclusive school environments have less turn-over of teachers13, especially teachers of color (14) and when there is less turnover with the faculty, and they are a part of the community, students and parents have more confidence in the schools and district (15).

Diversity and Inclusion: The Responsibility of Every One

The proposed diversity and inclusion initiative is a top down approach that begins with elected officials: District Superintendent, Chris Ragsdale and board members, as well as HR, district support staff, district and local school leadership.

It is only with total buy in from Mr. Ragsdale down that this initiative can work, so that the district slogan: One Team, One Goal: Student Success becomes a reality.

TIMELINES

Milestone 1. Director of D & I hired or appointed within 3 months

Milestone 2. Broad publication of D&I initiatives and revised mission statement within 6 months

Milestone 3. All elected officials – Superintendent and Board members as well as District, Local School Leadership will reflect in word, deed, and their own diversity the D&I initiatives and mission statement within two years.

 

1 Jacqueline Burnett-Brown, Racial Dialogues: A Phenomenological Study of Difficult Dialogues from the Perspective of High School English Teachers (Northcentral University, 2014), http://search.proquest.com/openview/c9f429614a0306c789151930462db1bb/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y.

2 Ibid.

3 Kamilla L. Venner and Steven P. Verney, “Motivational Interviewing: Reduce Student Reluctance and Increase Engagement in Learning Multicultural Concepts,” Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 46, no. 2 (April 2015): 116–23, doi:http://dx.doi.org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.1037/a0038856.

4 Angie Beeman, “Walk the Walk but Don’t Talk the Talk: The Strategic Use of Color-Blind Ideology in an Interracial Social Movement Organization,” Sociological Forum 30, no. 1 (March 2015): 127–47, doi:10.1111/socf.12148.

5 Derek Cavilla and Belle Wallace, “Thoughts on Access, Differentiation, and Implementation of a Multicultural Curriculum,” Gifted Education International 30, no. 3 (September 1, 2014): 281–87, doi:10.1177/0261429413486576.

6 Burnett-Brown, Racial Dialogues.

7 Steven J. Sandage, Sarah Crabtree, and Maria Schweer, “Differentiation of Self and Social Justice Commitment Mediated by Hope,” Journal of Counseling & Development 92, no. 1 (January 2014): 67–74, doi:10.1002/j.1556-6676.2014.00131.x.

8 Sara Staley and Bethy Leonardi, “Leaning In to Discomfort: Preparing Literacy Teachers for Gender and Sexual Diversity,” Research in the Teaching of English; Urbana 51, no. 2 (November 2016): 209–29.

9 Deborah L. Voltz and Loucrecia Collins, “Preparing Special Education Administrators for Inclusion in Diverse, Standards-Based Contexts: Beyond the Council for Exceptional Children and the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium,” Teacher Education and Special Education 33, no. 1 (February 1, 2010): 70–82, doi:10.1177/0888406409356676.

10 Venner and Verney, “Motivational Interviewing.”

11 Thomas S. Dee and Emily K. Penner, “The Causal Effects of Cultural Relevance,” American Educational Research Journal 54, no. 1 (February 1, 2017): 127–66, doi:10.3102/0002831216677002.

12 Terry Meier, “‘The Brown Face of Hope’: Reading Engagement and African American Boys,” The Reading Teacher 68, no. 5 (February 2015): 335–43, doi:10.1002/trtr.1310.

13 Susan Fairchild et al., “White and Black Teachers’ Job Satisfaction: Does Relational Demography Matter?,” Urban Education 47, no. 1 (January 1, 2012): 170–97, doi:10.1177/0042085911429582.

14 Betty Achinstein et al., “Retaining Teachers of Color: A Pressing Problem and a Potential Strategy for ‘Hard-to-Staff’ Schools,” Review of Educational Research 80, no. 1 (March 1, 2010): 71–107, doi:10.3102/0034654309355994.

15 Sadaf Naz, Mohammad Majid Mehmood Bagram, and Shahzad Khan, “Impact of Teacher Turn over on Students Motivation, Psyche and Performance,” International Review of Management and Business Research; Peshawar 1, no. 1 (December 2012): 26–46.

14 Betty Achinstein et al., “Retaining Teachers of Color: A Pressing Problem and a Potential Strategy for ‘Hard-to-Staff’ Schools,” Review of Educational Research 80, no. 1 (March 1, 2010): 71–107, doi:10.3102/0034654309355994.

15 Sadaf Naz, Mohammad Majid Mehmood Bagram, and Shahzad Khan, “Impact of Teacher Turn over on Students Motivation, Psyche and Performance,” International Review of Management and Business Research; Peshawar 1, no. 1 (December 2012): 26–46.

 

Part III Twice Exceptional Children: A Boy Named Dirk

The student who immediately comes to mind whenever I am asked about the student who most impacted my teaching career is a young man I met when he was an 8th grader, and I was a substitute teacher. I spent a few months substituting before I got my first teaching job in the high school where this young man would later be on my special education case load and then later have a seat in my 11th grade classroom with me as his general education English teacher.

I tell this story often as I feel this experience was one of the reasons I decided I would actively pursue my teaching certificate. I was new to Georgia, an individual with a Master’s of Science in Psychology who had just begun the process of Florida state licensure when my then husband was transferred to Georgia. Our daughter was two, and I did not have the contacts in Georgia or the family who were always there to assist while I continued my studies and internships. I thought it might be a good time to begin my PhD, as I knew that being a 100% stay at home mom was not something I could do. In the meanwhile, I decided to substitute teach as my work in Florida had primarily been with adolescents.

 I was called almost every day to work in the middle school close to my home. The middle school and high school were next door to one another. On one occasion I substituted for an English teacher of an 8th grade class. As I called roll I said each name clearly and asked that each child raise his or her hand so I could be sure of who was whom. I came to the name Derek C. within a few seconds.

There was no response. I called the name again, and I noticed some of the students snickering and pointing to a shaggy haired boy sitting next to the wall with his head down. I walked over to him and gently asked, “Why didn’t you answer when I called your name?” There was no answer. The other students began to laugh and began talking all at once:

 “Don’t mess with him, he’s crazy.”

“Yeah, he just got out of the crazy house.”

“Look at his arms, he tried to kill himself.”

 I looked at these students in alarm and motioned for them to stop talking.

I stooped down beside the boy and asked again very quietly, “Why did you not answer when I called your name?”

 He looked up briefly and said, “Because my name is Dirk.”

 I looked at the roster to confirm the spelling of his name and stated still quietly from my stooped position, “I am sorry, the spelling of your name is different on the roster. How do you spell Dirk?

 He raised his head and was eye level with me. He spelled his name and watched curiously as I crossed out the name Derek and wrote Dirk beside it.

 The other students started howling at this point and said, “That is not really his name, he is just crazy.”

 I looked pointedly at the one I had already identified as the ring-leader and said, “I am quite sure that Dirk knows his own name better than you.”

 Others said, “Look, he only comes to school when they make him. He’s in the crazy house all the time. When he’s here the teacher just lets him keep his head down so she can teach.”

 Still from my stooped position I directed my voice to Dirk again whose head was down once more and I said, “Dirk, I am very glad to meet you. You do not have to keep your head down in class for me to teach, but even if you do, I see you. I know you are here.”

 I patted the place beside his head and stood. I then began the lesson which just so happened to be on a short story by Edgar Allen Poe.  At that moment inspired and feeling on a mission I asked if the students knew anything about Mr. Poe. Some did and some did not. So I talked about his childhood and how misunderstood he always was as a boy and even as a young adult. I talked about how creative he was and how difficult it was for him to connect with others.

 I had all the students’ attention, but I noticed above all, I had Dirk’s attention. The look in his eyes was one I will never forget. It was a look of a child who felt for the first time someone had actually seen him.

 Later that same year, I was offered a job teaching at the high school next door to that middle school. I would begin on a provisional certificate and would take my special education certification course work through the University of Georgia. This was February of 2004, and I was replacing a resource science teacher who had been dismissed for sexual misconduct with a student. I was not a science teacher, but it was physical science and I decided to make a go of it. After all, physical science is logic based. All my boys- yes, it was a class full of boys – passed the class and their EOCT (this was the first year for the GA EOCT).

 Even though I was largely successful with these boys and in this class, I wanted to team teach in the English department as this was a subject I knew well and loved. In the Fall of 2004, I met was given my new case load. The first name I noticed was Derek C. I smiled, crossed out Derek and wrote Dirk. Somehow the universe had placed this young man and me together, and I knew I had made the right choice.

 I took my job as a special education teacher seriously, as I did my job as a general education teacher. I was not satisfied with managing my cases from afar. I used my planning period to check on these students to get to know them initially, and to communicate with their classroom teachers and parents.

 When it came time for Dirk’s first IEP, I made sure that all his teachers were there and that we made a plan that he would be successful in high school. I was convinced that in spite of a specific learning disability that Dirk was extremely gifted. Yes, he was strange. Yes, he had dark thoughts. Yes, he was difficult to reach, but these were all my first clues to his giftedness, not an impediment to his learning. Fortunately, he had some phenomenal teachers that year that would form strong relationships with him and who later agreed with my assessment.

 When Dirk was at the end of 10th grade year I knew that the next year I would not be his case manager anymore, as I was moving into general education as an English teacher. We held his IEP. Dirk was passing all of his classes with mostly Bs and Cs, but he was passing. He had really begun to work hard in high school and I felt he needed to be released from the stigma of special education in order for him to really shine. His mother was frightened by the idea as he had been served in special education since elementary school. Dirk was very enthused with the idea. All of his general education teachers and his team teachers agreed that he had made extraordinary progress. So we decided to allow him to fly solo in his English and history classes, but that for math, science and then later his senior government/economics class he should be in a team taught class, just for additional support even if he was not receiving direct services.

 In the fall of 2006 I would have my first general education American Literature class, 11th grade. Dirk C. was on my roster, and it was not a team taught class. Dirk was very shy, very quiet, he always had been. He stood out with his shaggy hair, his dark eyes and pale skin. I made sure he sat in direct view of my podium and not in the back as he was wont to do.

 As the school year progressed Dirk did begin to shine. His verbal responses in class were not on the level of other students, they were above. He thought on a much deeper level and when we began to read the works of the transcendentalists that is when he really began to connect with the literature, it brought him out of the dark and into the light. He needed to know that there had been and are others who question the universe and what has simply been accepted. He was another brilliant mind that had been crippled with Bible Belt education. He had been deemed weird, mentally unstable, and learning disabled because he thought differently, because he saw the world in different terms than others. His existence had been lonely. No wonder he had made attempts on his life. He is not the first brilliant mind to have done so.

 That would be my last year in this school and district. I had decided to move onto a new district that I felt at the time would be a bit more progressive. I hated leaving Dirk, and all my students, but it was time. However, I remained in contact with Dirk through his teachers. He received the award for most unique senior project his senior year. He made all As and Bs, and he was planning to go to college, not a major four-year university, but to learn something that could allow him entry into the adult world where he really could make his own decisions. This worried me. I encouraged him to take creative writing and art courses.

 I attended Dirk’s graduation and was warmly hugged by his mother and of course Dirk. His mother thanked me for my faith in her son. Nothing from a book or a class, just simple open eyed faith in the potential of a boy everyone thought weird, and dangerous.

 Dirk would over the next couple of years send me his papers for review and talk to me of his plans, of girls, his worries over his best friend. I would later help Dirk in his grief over the untimely death of his longest and dearest friend. Today, he is married to a lovely young woman and is doing very well in his career. We recently met for coffee and he told me he would always be grateful to me for all I had done for him. I told him I would always be grateful we had been placed somehow in one another’s path, that each of us needed what the other had to give.

 Dirk is in his mid 20s. He has not founded a mega corporation, he has not invented anything that will change the course of human history, or written a Pulitzer prize winning novel. However, he survived school and is a happy and productive member of society. He is happy with who he is and judging by his posts on Facebook, totally comfortable marching to the beat of a different drummer.

 So in a nutshell, without ever having read a book on gifted education, while not even enrolled in my first education course, I did what all teachers should be capable of doing: Seeing a child and recognizing that child’s uniqueness. Recognizing that there has to be a more significant reason than “badness” that a child wishes himself harm, and does not engage with the world around him or her.

 I advocated for Dirk from the moment I crossed out the name he had disowned and he saw me write the name he claimed.  All it takes is one teacher who then engages other teachers in the effort. Any teacher who does not want to join in the effort to bring a child to his or her potential is in the wrong profession. Any teacher that dismisses a child based upon what others say of that child without looking into his or her eyes, without attempting to reach that child on some level, does not need to be in the profession.

 I took a risk as his case manager in suggesting that we remove him from special education services. This label had been a yoke around this young man’s neck for his entire educational career. It was a risk worth taking. Teachers must be prepared to take risks for their students and on their behalf. This shows faith in the child and in ourselves as educators.

 When I began formally learning how to identify and teach gifted students, I found that much of what I have done has been right, and it has also caused me to reflect on various ways I could have done things differently. It has caused me to be a better parent to my own gifted child, for as Baily (2007) states, parents, teachers, and counselors must think about and communicate with the gifted child in a different manner in which they would an ungifted child.

 I did not take the gifted course as a teacher to teach “gifted classes”. I took it to make me a better teacher to all my students. Taking the class on gifted education aided me in understanding my own child and students I taught, it helped me to understand much of what I underwent as a child, and even now as an adult who is different. It also has validated what I have long suspected; I am drawn to and have an intuition about students like Dirk, because I see so much of myself in them. Gifted children who come from ordinary or impoverished families often find themselves lost and struggling to connect with others. This may lead to anger, depression, and simply dropping out (Baily, 2009). I was there… but I found myself and my own giftedness and am still striving to reach my fullest potential… to become as Maslow taught, self-actualized. My way there was to lead my students to their own level of actualization.

 

 

 Bailey, C. L. (2007, October). Social and emotional needs of gifted students: What school counselors need to know to most effectively serve this diverse student population.

Paper based on a program presented at the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Conference, Columbus, OH.

 

Dr. Burnett-Brown left teaching in Dec. 2016 due to irresolvable conflict with Cobb County School District. She is now a Supreme Court Approved Mediator with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution and a Diversity and Inclusion consultant.

 This is not a new career for Dr. Burnett-Brown, but rather a return to one she began in Florida as a Guardian ad Litem as well as a family and adolescent counselor and mediator.

 Dr. Burnett-Brown is committed to fairness and justice. In her role as a mediator she must serve as a neutral, and will in her role facilitate negotiations between parties that bring about the most equitable resolution for all parties involved. When children are involved in either education or domestic disputes, the best interest of the child will always be recognized and served.

 

 Note: This story is posted with speical permission from “the boy named Dirk.”  

 

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