When considering my growth as a teacher during the M. A. Ed. program here at William & Mary, I decided to take a look at my application essay for this program for a reminder of where I started:

I am currently in my sixth year of teaching elementary school and I cannot imagine doing anything else. I love being around children. I love being the first one to introduce a child to a concept, historical event, or a great author. I love working with kids who are struggling and helping them make gains and become truly successful in school. I love encouraging kids who are shy or unsure of themselves and seeing them find the courage to share the gift of themselves with their classmates. But what I have discovered over the past several years is that working with gifted kids, in particular, truly energizes and inspires me the way nothing else does.

While my passion for working with students remains unchanged, this program has equipped me to transition from a veteran classroom teacher to a teacher of gifted students and a leader and advocate in the field of gifted education. I understand now, more than ever, that the role of the teacher should be to enable all students to maximize their potential. All too often, teachers instead focus on helping all students meet predetermined benchmarks for their age. This focus on minimum competencies can prevent gifted students, many of whom could meet minimum grade-level competencies in September, from experiencing growth. In my future career path, I hope to take on two roles: teacher of gifted students and consultant to teachers and parents. This way I can continue to do what I love (working directly with students) while helping empower teachers and parents to appropriately nurture the growth of gifted children.