I have just spent the last two weeks teaching gifted children from first through eighth grade Lego robotics. It was the best group of students I have had. They were polite, quiet, focused, and creative. How often in my career as a special education teacher I had students who were not especially motivated to learn! It is so much fun to teach gifted kids something they want to learn that I hardly notice the passage of time. In fact, I am guilty of forgetting to clean up on time with regularity.
This was the first time I had worked with gifted students since learning about Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration. I really noticed and responded to situations that clearly demonstrated his "hyperexcitabilities." I have been reading a book by Willem Kuipers, Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon, who refers to these reactions as “extra receptivity.” The school bell that rang several times a day made both children and adults jump. I saw one girl cover her ears and twist in circles while it rang. Two other incidents that occurred were notable. In one situation, a young boy was dropped off and left in the room alone while I was in the bathroom. He was inconsolable until Mom came back and brought his folder for the day. Another child became paralyzed with dread when he noticed all the parents visiting the last day. He also could not stop crying until we reached Mom who returned and stayed. In the past, I would have been uncomfortable and tried to talk the students into overcoming their feelings. This year, I sat and talked with the students and helped them meet their needs. We never stop learning.