Being able to be flexible to type of need is also rewarding. The plan could focus on leading whole school change or change across a Community of Learning within a set timeframe, but then this might not be the best option or response. It is great to be able to respond to the need to mentor a new Gifted and Talented Coordinator on an “as needed” basis, responding to their specific questions when they have them. It could also be responding to a teacher or principal with regard to a specific child they have a need to seek support with. It could, equally, be supporting one aspect of school development work, e.g. self-review or co-constructing a shared understanding of giftedness with the community, or digging deeper into understanding what kind of issues are going on with a bundle of disengaged gifted learners, or designing a programme that is going to take gifted writers to another level in their writing development. Being open to what is on top for educators and schools and being able to respond accordingly to need without constraints of packages and timelines is refreshing and rewarding.
In working through the plan I have seen the need to remain flexible and open to shifts and changes. Feedback at each step is so valuable – How is that going? How are you finding that? How do you feel about this? What are you noticing? Do we need to make an adjustment to the plan? A bit more of this, a little less of that, more/less time needed than anticipated, a diversion to include xyz. The questions again are reciprocal. This is a two way conversation based on current observations. When time and approach can be somewhat flexible teachers feel they have time to think, to consider, to try differently, that their thinking and learning is valued.
The results of this approach to learning and development speak for themselves: cemented learning, clear ownership of practice, and outcomes that are suited to and unique to the individual educator or school, notwithstanding the children and community. Educators have commented that they have appreciated working within the vision and values the school hold dear as a school and community; that they felt valued and supported throughout the process; that the results, tailored specifically to their school, felt special and unique in the way they were integrated into their personal setting.
Seeing the personalised and different products for each school, ones that fit and suit not only the children in the school but the school and educators within, is very satisfying and rewarding. So here’s to the individual and to the personal touch when it comes to professional learning and development for educators of gifted and talented students, for in responding to diversity we create beauty and strength.