It is that time of year again. Back to school puts children through a lot of emotions. Some of them can be intense. Anxiety for mothers is also a real problem this time of year. There are financial worries about new clothes and supplies, but the highest anxiety often comes from worrying about your child’s new teacher. Will the teacher be too strict, too lenient, or heaven forbid, not a good teacher at all? Some studies show that children that endure a year with a poor quality teacher in first, second, or third grade have gaps in their learning that can impact their achievement in middle school and beyond.
Teacher turnover causes parents to worry that the “new” teacher may not have the skills to teach their child well. Some studies show that in this age of accountability, rigorous evaluations can weed out weaker teachers, allowing the principal to bring in better or more enthusiastic teachers. Read one related study here: https://www.nber.org/papers/w21922.pdf
Gifted children may continue to make straight A’s with a teacher that has not been trained on meeting their academic needs, but over time, without proper differentiation, the compliant gifted child may give up their thirst for knowledge and by third grade, be on the same level as an average ability child. Even worse, a gifted child with a stronger, more dominant personality may become a behavior problem when they are not challenged. An unruly gifted child that is challenged in their area of interest is often so engaged in learning that the behavior problems seem to disappear. Here is a research article about gifted children and behavior: http://www.k12accountability.org/resources/Gifted-Education/Fully-developing-the-potential-of-academically-advanced-students.pdf
Even more than finding the right teacher, resilience in gifted children is impacted by the family in which it is raised. Read a really good study about the impact of the family on the academic, social and emotional development if a gifted child here: https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu:405985/datastream/PDF/view.
If you are interested in reducing your anxiety as a gifted child mom, you may want to keep a journal that tracks your parenting and your child’s gifted milestones. Reflecting on your parenting strategies and reading current research can help you consciously adjust the way you interact with your child, hopefully reducing both your child’s and your own anxiety. You can get one here!
Start the school year off right and keep your anxiety in check for your own happiness and your child’s well being.