In this episode, we’re talking to Kintara Phillips about navigating schools and education with gifted kids.
We ask Kintara to answer all of those questions you have about how to talk to your child’s teacher, what questions to ask a new school, when is it time to move on, what kind of education is your child going to need and so much more… there was so much we have split it in two and released Part 1 this week and next week we’ll publish Part2!
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“From a teacher perspective… I read posts and I read comments that parents are making about teachers and it hurts my heart. And I get it from both sides. I can see that these parents are tired and they don’t know what to do and at the same time it hurts my heart for my colleagues who I know if they knew better, they would do better. And I know they don’t know better and it’s not their fault [they are not trained in gifted].
But I also recognize there are teachers out there who don’t want to know better and they don’t care. And that’s also the reality and I’m embarrassed for those people. I apologize to parents on behalf of people I don’t even know who have had to encounter that.
So I think, with my teacher head on, I do ask parents to consider when you are going into these kinds of meetings, go in without your armour, go in expecting that the teachers probably won’t know a lot and go in and give your teachers a bit of grace and that where the goal is this shared understanding.
This wanting to learn together, not us and them, not school and home. This team around our young people, we’re all part of it…. I always, anytime anything’s a bit awkward or uncomfortable or could potentially be that conflict kind of conversation, I always go in and remind myself that I need to understand the other person’s why.” – Kintara Phillips
- Emergence Education Website
- Emergence Education Facebook
- Emergence Education Instagram
- James & Susie Youtube Video
- “An allegory about what happens to smart kids who skate through elementary school, and don’t get opportunities to develop persistence, grit, and the true self-confidence that comes from knowing how to tackle a genuine challenge.”
- Heather’s Podcast – what happens when you don’t learn how to learn – #033 [GTN Awareness Week] #ActuallyGifted Adult with Heather Cox
- State Gifted Associations – Australia (AAEGT) – USA
Kintara Phillips worked as a Secondary English teacher for 21 years across government, independent and catholic schools. After a principal suggested that her ‘gut feeling’ about extending the gifted students in her class needed to be backed by some evidence – always the overachiever, she completed a Masters in Gifted Education at UNSW in 2016 and presented said evidence at the International Gifted Conference later the same year (and yes, her gut feeling was right). Leaving the classroom in 2021, frustrated by the restrictive system and desperate to find a way to shake things up, she now finds herself almost halfway through a Graduate Diploma in Psychology and plans to complete honours then a Masters in Educational Psychology sometime before she turns 50.
Earlier this year, Kintara was formally diagnosed with ADHD, confirming her place in the2e community and further strengthening her passion for supporting young people and their families, but also educating teachers to be able to provide better inclusions and educational outcomes for gifted and 2e learners. Longer term she hopes to blend her years of classroom experience and psychology training to bridge the gap between schools, psychologists and gifted education and would love nothing more than to see her name mentioned when parents ask about for recommendations for a psychologist experienced with giftedness in the future.
Kintara currently teaches in the Masters of Teaching at two Victorian Universities, and hopes that by employing the butterfly effect and mentioning gifted learners frequently, even if it’s not in the course outline, to the future teacher’s she works with, that perhaps a little shake up may occur in schools sooner than later.
In all her spare time, Kintara and her teacher bestie, have started to build and nurture a small business specifically positioned to support gifted students navigate school, help families plan and advocate and work in schools with teachers providing professional learning opportunities that build understanding of gifted learning needs.
Hit play and let’s get started!
[00:00:00] Sophia Elliott: Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of the, our gifted kids podcast. I’m super excited this week to be talking to. To Conterra Phillips. Now can Tara is. Was an English teacher in high school for over 20 years. She has a master’s in gifted education. And she has started her own little business called emergence education, which is all about supporting gifted kids and their parents, but also doing professional development for teachers and schools around giftedness.
[00:00:33] She also teaches at university prospective teachers and drops in a bit about giftedness here so she is a very busy woman on a mission to meet the needs of gifted kids in our education system. Uh, a little bit of a unicorn, but as we discuss not too much of a unicorn, there are also other teachers or. Pre. X teachers. I don’t know once a teacher, always a teacher, but she’s certainly one of those teachers out there.
[00:01:01] Trying to do their utmost best to meet the needs of this. Awesome cohort of kids who desperately need people out there. Championing for them in the education system. So. So it’s a delight to talk to her just because she is on that mission. But also, it gives me this wonderful opportunity to ask all those questions. About. School.
[00:01:29] And heavy kid and navigating school and education. And you know, those questions like every week in Facebook groups around the It’s like. It’s the same questions, right? It’s ah, I’m meaning like my teacher or the principal. What do I say? This is? I’ve got these results. What does it mean? Like. All of those questions.
[00:01:56] And so what it meant was we ended up talking for like an hour and a half. And now I know I do some log podcasts, but even for me, I was like, whoa. So this is a part one part two, because I could not cut anything out. All gold. So we’ve got part one this week. Navigating education with gifted kids with Kintara
[00:02:16] Part two. Next week, which is all. Different stuff that we talk about, um, navigating education. So you do not want to miss that either. I’m going to. Publish part two next week, give you a little bit of time to listen to this And. And I just want to say like, enjoy, like enjoy this episode. It’s it’s brilliant. It’s really nice too.
[00:02:41] Talk to Ken Tara about these questions that we’ve all had. And so let me know if it’s helpful or if you have any others, you can contact our gifted kids on Facebook. We also have a Facebook group that’s free. You can join. We’re on Instagram or you can firstname.lastname@example.org and then you’ll never miss an episode.
[00:03:02] And in the meantime, Enjoy the episode. Let me know if you have any other questions and thank you, Tara, for coming on and having a chat with us and sharing all of your knowledge and wisdom. And. Uh, just hugely appreciated. So enjoy talk to you all soon. Bye.
[00:03:55] I’m super excited today to be talking to Canara Phillips for many reasons. I’m excited about this conversation because I think today we’re gonna talk about a lot of the things that parents are always like, ah, I need help with this.
[00:04:09] So I think you’re gonna love it. But also Canara just has this wealth of experience and knowledge. She, her background is she’s a secondary teacher of a couple of decades. If you don’t mind me saying that Canara that’s wild. She currently also teaches would be teachers at university, but she’s also created emergence education with a good buddy and colleague, I believe.
[00:04:34] And in that you guys support gifted students, navigating school, a bit of tutoring, but more than tutoring, mentoring, helping families plan and advocate and work with schools. And you also provide PD for teachers and schools, just a wonderful service that’s desperately needed in our communities. So welcome.
[00:04:55] Canara absolutely delighted that you are here today. Thank
[00:04:58] Kintara Phillips: you. Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here. It’s it’s always fun being asked to talk about the area that you really nerd out on and, and this is where I nerd out much.
[00:05:11] Sophia Elliott: Definitely. I, I absolutely resonate with that. We could talk all day. So tell us a little bit about you and I mean, I’ve sort of given you a bit of an intro, but tell us about you and what you do and how you kind of got
[00:05:23] Kintara Phillips: into that.
[00:05:24] Yeah, so you’re right. I’ve been teaching for 2 21 years secondary English predominantly, and I left the classroom about a year ago. Now, uh, for a whole multitude of reasons, but I, I fell on my feet and I’ve fallen into, into a space that I, that makes me really happy. So I did complete a masters of gifted ed in finish that in 2016 at U N S Ws.
[00:05:51] So I had the pleasure of working under America gross for a little while, who is just a delight of a human, like she’s, she’s beautiful and wonderful. And it’s such a loss that she’s not with us anymore. Yes. Yeah. So, and that the gifted masters and gifted sort of sprung from a whole range of things, I guess, like parenting a gifted child.
[00:06:15] And, you know, when I mentioned it to my mom, she was like, oh yeah, it was just like you. And I was like, ah, okay. but no one, no one thought to tell me. Yeah. Uh, but I had kids in my class that even, even though I had experience teaching quite a few years ahead, I still, these kids were beyond and I, I didn’t really know what to do with them.
[00:06:34] And I chatted to my principal and had some, some gut feelings and he said, I, I don’t like your gut. Can you find me the, the evidence? So typical overachiever style, I did a whole master’s degree and, and delivered the evidence back to him a couple of years later. And my gut was. And after that, master’s I said I was never going back to study again.
[00:06:54] So of course I’m now, currently we all say it currently chipping away to graduate diploma in psychology with plans of continuing and doing honors and then masters mm-hmm . I would like to practice as an educational psychologist, specializing in assessments and working with gifted families and young people is the long term goal.
[00:07:17] So, you know, that’s how I kind of found myself in this place. You know, I, I love teaching. I will always be a teacher. I can’t imagine a time where I’m not involved in education in one way, shape or form. And I’ve luckily found myself working with pre-service teachers across two different universities, uh, and employ what I call the butterfly effect.
[00:07:40] So they may not have gifted it as a compulsory part of their, their teacher training. But it’s, it’s a, non-negotiable part of your teacher training when you are in my classroom. So I, I mention gift to kids. I drop them in, I use them as examples all the time. Yeah. So, and I’m hoping that that little butterfly effect ripple will, will spread.
[00:08:01] And, you know, I like to remind myself that each semester there are about 200 free service teachers who have direct contact with me and then they’ll be out in schools. So yeah. If, if we can spread things that way. Yeah,
[00:08:17] Sophia Elliott: absolutely. And those little things, at least now they’ve heard of gifted students.
[00:08:22] Yeah. They’ve heard some stories about them. It’s, it’s, it’s in their periphery, like, and it’s like you say that butterfly faith that will, there will be a story one day and it’s like a teacher will be saying there was this thing at uni and then I
[00:08:37] Kintara Phillips: met the student. Yeah. And I think I have the benefit because my name is so kind of weird and unusual.
[00:08:43] Yeah. If any of them at any point aren’t sure. And, and wanna try and find me to get in, I’m not hard to find and, and get in touch with then, you know, I, I sort of, I let them know that that’s an option. Mm-hmm yeah. And like you said, my, my teacher bestie and I both really have this interest in, in kids that don’t fit in the average bell curve.
[00:09:06] And yeah, we, we have a little side hustle with ed consulting. So working with at the moment, it’s a really small kind of number of young people because that’s what we can manage. Mm-hmm but also working with schools you know, providing some professional development for, for teachers I’ve done a couple of whole school sessions.
[00:09:23] I’ve then had some teachers from those kind of reach out and, and asked for one-on-one. Workshops and mentoring. So I’ve been doing some of that as well. And that’s something we, we are both really interested in, in kind of doing and building and working in that way. And I, because I’ve always got 5 million things on the go also kind of ticking away at a couple of units that I’m hoping to be able to release and work with some gifted young people in small groups.
[00:09:52] So probably in the online space initially, but you know, the dream is that at some point we will have a place that belongs to emergence and, and gifted children and young people and their parents will come in and feel like that’s exactly where they’re meant to be.
[00:10:12] Sophia Elliott: Uh, well, I look forward to keeping up to date with the journey as that all grows and develops and sharing that with everyone.
[00:10:19] So they’re kind of knowing what’s out there. There’s such a big gap in supporting gifted kids and families and, and, and doing great work there, providing PD for schools and teachers and mentoring like another, you know, really needed service. So Bravo for going, going out and filling that gap, you know, it’s not easy doing these things,
[00:10:42] Kintara Phillips: Right.
[00:10:42] It’s scary. It’s just, yeah. Hell yeah, definitely. But we are trying and, you know, working from a place of, you know, probably. I wish I knew sooner.
[00:10:54] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. Oh yeah. You like, oh yeah, I know
[00:10:57] Kintara Phillips: that. Space’s a wonderful thing. Yep.
[00:11:01] Sophia Elliott: So you’re in Melbourne. Yep. Yes, I, yeah. Good. Yep. So schools and teachers in that Melbourne area, you can do that kind of in person type stuff, but so the students you work with is that only in person or do you do also zoom stuff?
[00:11:21] No. So we
[00:11:21] Kintara Phillips: do a bit of zoom stuff. Yeah. Uh, one of my newest students is in Queensland. So working with a student in, in Queensland, who’s one of my newbies. I’ve got a student who is now in year 12 who quite literally lives 15 minutes away from me. I’ve been working with him online since he was in year 10.
[00:11:40] We’ve never met face to face and he’s halfway through year 12 now. Yeah. I’m tempted to just like turn up at his final year 12 assembly and just be like, Hey and then yeah, a couple of students working with online, one of my students is currently transitioning back to a mainstream school enrollment.
[00:11:59] So part-time enrollment, uh, radically accelerated. So we’ve, that’s been a process. And I was part of that process kind of negotiating that. So my sessions with him at the moment are at. Yeah. So I go, I go and work with him during his kind of downtime at school. But yeah, so it’s, it’s, it’s very flexible.
[00:12:20] Mm-hmm and that’s what I like about it. That’s, you know? Yeah. And all of those things, you know, I’ve got students who turn cameras on when we’re working online, I’ve got ones that, that don’t turn cameras on. Like whatever’s gonna work. And that’s, that’s why we, I suppose we, we like the term mentoring as opposed to tutoring, because tutoring for us just suggests that really straight academic improvement, almost perfection.
[00:12:46] We’re like, it’s so much more than that, you know, it’s, it’s meeting all of, all of these young people where they’re at and, and following the rabbit rabbit holes with them. Yep. You know, like following that lead, following the rabbit holes and, and helping guide and, and make those connections. And I don’t think it matters whether there’s a camera on or off for that.
[00:13:08] Sophia Elliott: Yep. Yeah. Yeah. It’s well, it’s whatever. Maintains the journey. Isn’t it. If that’s where they’re at, maybe it comes on later, doesn’t matter. No, that’s really great. Cause I know, you know, parents listening and you might be thinking, oh, is this someone who can help me? So it’s good to kind of know. Uh, so there’s that element of it’s more than just tutoring.
[00:13:30] It’s like this mental relationship, but also helping families in those conversations with schools and advocating, making sense of it all and and working with schools directly. So that gives everyone a good sense of, you know, where you fit in
[00:13:45] Kintara Phillips: the, in the puzzle, I guess really working on building, you know, in the, in the education jargon.
[00:13:52] Yeah. That team around learner. Yeah. And being part of that team and helping bridge some of the gaps. Yeah. That happen. There’s a lot of jargon in, in education and there’s a lot of jargon in, in the assessments and, and the terminology around giftedness mm-hmm and yeah. Helping families navigate that jargon.
[00:14:16] Yeah. You know, and, and really looking at how yeah. Bridging the gap, cuz I think there really is a gap. I think, you know, a lot of the suggestions that come from from psychologists and OK. Therapists and speeches and all of those wonderful people. Yeah. Come from their, their line of best practice in their profession.
[00:14:36] Yeah. And I think teachers often teaching’s very different kind of practice and it’s, it’s never one to one, you know, it best case scenario, it’s maybe one to 25 worst case scenario. It can be one to 30, 2 33. Uh, and I think just helping teachers decipher some of the suggestions that are being made and seeing with a small tweak, how they can work yeah.
[00:15:00] In your classroom, you know, how you can use this in, in, in the setting that you’ve got. Yeah,
[00:15:06] Sophia Elliott: definitely. Yeah, absolutely. And important such an important role because, oh man, those assessments and reports, they’re long, like you say, it’s the full of the, the jargon of that profession. And it’s kinda like, okay, what does this look like for me?
[00:15:22] You know, as a parent, as a teacher in real life, what does that equal? What does that mean? I need to do so definitely huge role there for people just in that, like you say, bridging the gap between things, how do we, how do we make this work for this particular child? So that’s really great. So which makes, , this a really exciting conversation today.
[00:15:43] So because, uh, and this was something, when I was thinking about this conversation, it was very much like. And I love that. You’ve already said it. It’s like building the team around the child. Yeah. Who’s also a student and it’s like, as parents we’re obviously well and truly in there, but as teachers, we’re like, we’re all on the same team.
[00:16:05] Yeah. And it’s kinda like, how do we work together with the other professionals that are there supporting our child to, , just meet the needs of that child, meet that child where they’re at. And that sounds so straightforward. and yet we know, and how incredibly hard that is like, oh my goodness. Yes.
[00:16:27] So, so when I was thinking about, oh, what are we gonna talk to Canara about is very much like, okay, how do we, you know, what is it that is helpful for parents to know in this, uh, bridging this gap between parents and teachers and schools. So let’s kind of get started with and, and my dog is here with me today.
[00:16:49] I don’t know if you can, she’s like look in the window a minute ago. Mine’s
[00:16:52] Kintara Phillips: somewhere. I don’t know. He’s always here in spirit. So this,
[00:16:56] Sophia Elliott: this is Dr. Watson. Oh, lovely.
[00:16:58] Kintara Phillips: Yes. Very good. Yeah. He, so he is always here, but he’s not in this here. He’s not in here at the moment. Cuz the sun has left. The window. So you’ll be wherever the sun is.
[00:17:09] Yes. Yeah.
[00:17:10] Sophia Elliott: She chases the sun as well. So if you hear licking, that’s not me. Can’t hear. I’m just paranoid. That’s the story. We’ll tell people. Yeah. Okay. So, okay. So this question, and, and when I sort of thought about this conversation, I’m like, uh, every parent here, who’s listening, who is in a Facebook group for gifted kids and different parenting has seen this question a million times and it’s kind of like parent says, oh my God, I’ve gotta talk to my kids’ teacher.
[00:17:43] Or like head of department or principal tomorrow, or having all these issues. I’ve got this rapport, like, what the hell? How do I have this conversation? Because they’re fine at school. Yeah. Or the, and all the other one is to often, it’s kind of like the kid is fine at school. So it’s, how does the parent convince them that actually all is not well.
[00:18:10] And, and the flip side of that is the child is not fine at school and there’s behavior issues or whatever is going on. How does the parent convince them that they’re just not naughty, there’s actually these big needs. So this is kind of what I want to talk about today. So, Where do we start with that? It’s kind like what info is helpful? What should parents expect? What should the approach should take? So over to you start talking magic will
[00:18:37] Kintara Phillips: hopefully, hopefully, and I think it is it, when you first find yourself in this space, it is overwhelming. Oh yeah. You know, and, and the other thing that, you know, I remember someone said at a, at a professional development or somewhere that I was that you know, gifted kids who are this, the, the successful gifted kids who are, you know, everything’s tubing, everything’s working, they’re successful.
[00:19:03] Like they’re not naughty. They’re not, you know, they don’t have this stuff going on. Typically don’t end up in psych’s office officers being assessed. Typically aren’t having meetings with, with schools about what’s happening because everything’s just working. Yeah. So for parents who, who have got to the point where they’ve, they’ve taken their kid to see a psych for, and they’ve gotten this gifted, you know, diagnosis, feedback back, it’s all overwhelming.
[00:19:33] Hmm. You know, it’s been overwhelming before you get to that point. The news is overwhelming. The interactions you’ve probably had with the school leading up to this point have been overwhelming. So I think just recognizing. And realizing that that’s normal. Yeah. Can be really a good place to start. Yeah. I think, you know, before you go in into these meetings, really like having that information, the IQ assessment staff, the, and, and maybe not having the whole report to give to schools, cuz like I said, they’re full of they’re full of jargon.
[00:20:10] They’re long they’re wordy, is there the opportunity, to to talk to the psychologist, can we get a, a one page summary? Can we get something that’s, that’s a bit more simplified because that, that might, that can be really helpful. I would, and most, hopefully most parents kind of know or have an inkling what’s the school’s policy around gifted, gifted kids, is there a program?
[00:20:36] Is it, does there seem to be an awareness? Is, are there staff in the school that know what they’re talking about? Like what, what’s the context that you’re going into with this meeting, you can chat to other parents from the school, see, see what experiences they might have had because it’s, it’s often helpful to, I suppose, just.
[00:20:56] No. Like, I, I don’t think it’s a good idea to assume that it’s gonna be confrontational. It’s gonna be hard all the time, because then I think you take that energy in with you. Yeah. Don’t go
[00:21:06] Sophia Elliott: in with your arm on no, no, don’t go in
[00:21:08] Kintara Phillips: with your arm arm on, but it is also good to, I suppose, just have a, a read of the room or the vibe of what, what you might be walking into.
[00:21:19] Yeah. And I think, unless, you know, for certain that there are teachers with additional gifted ed training, high levels of experience from through whatever pathway, unless you know that for certain, I think it is safe to assume that the teachers and the, the leadership that you’ll be meeting with when, you know, like you gave ’em the Al what should parents expect?
[00:21:46] Teachers would know. And my answer is nothing mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:21:50] Sophia Elliott: I didn’t wanna say
[00:21:50] Kintara Phillips: that to reality
[00:21:52] Sophia Elliott: is yeah. There, no, nothing. Yeah. And, and the, this is, like you said before, uh, in our intro, it’s like, you are, you’re in universities and you’re teaching teachers and it’s kind of like, there is usually, I think there might be a couple of unis now that I’m aware of that do have a compulsory subject in gifted, but the history is, and most now, yeah.
[00:22:14] Teachers don’t get taught about gifted. So the chances are very high. You’re talking to a school, like you say that just doesn’t know. Yeah. And it’s kinda like, it’s not their fault.
[00:22:26] Kintara Phillips: Yes, absolutely. Right. It’s it’s hundred percent not their fault because yeah. It, they, they have, like, I, you know, I did my teacher training 20 odd years ago.
[00:22:37] There was nothing like apps. I mean, there was nothing for D diverse learners at all. I don’t remember doing a unit on anything like that, you know? So at least now there are elements of individual differences and diversity and sometimes gifted, you know, might be one little section hidden away in there, which is better than nothing, but it’s still not prevalent enough.
[00:23:00] It’s still not there. Yeah. And I, and from a teacher perspective and I, this is what I do. Like teaching is what I do, it’s who I am. Yeah. And there are some, I, I, I’m in lots of those Facebook groups and social media stuff. And, and sometimes I, I read posts and I read comments that, that parents are making about teachers and it hurts my heart because.
[00:23:21] And I, I get it from both sides. I can see that these parents are tired and mm-hmm, , you know, they dunno what to do and you know, but at the same time, it hurts my heart for my colleagues who I know if they knew better, they would do better. Yeah. And I know they don’t know better and it’s not their fault.
[00:23:38] Yeah. So it, but I, but I also recognize there are teachers out there who don’t wanna know better and they don’t care. Yeah. And they, that’s also the reality and I, I I’m embarrassed for those people. And for, you know, I apologize to parents on behalf of people, I don’t even know who have had to have those, you know, encounter that.
[00:23:57] So I think, with my teacher head on, I do ask parents to consider when you are going into, into these kinds of meetings, go in without your armor, go in expecting that the teachers probably won’t know a lot mm-hmm and go in and give, give your teachers a bit of grace. Mm-hmm right. And going with that, that where the goal is this shared understanding mm-hmm right.
[00:24:33] This wanting to learn together, not us and them, not school and home, not, you know, this, this team around our, our young people. We’re all part of it. We all wanna work together and. You know, going, I always, you know, anytime anything’s a bit awkward or uncomfortable or could potentially be that, you know, conflict kind of conversation, I always go in and remind myself that I need to understand the other.
[00:25:02] Person’s why. Right. Yeah. I’m going in seeking to understand. Yeah. So, and, you know, I, I, I was kind of making some notes for myself last night and, and thinking some things out and, and I know lots of parents, you know, will, will hear some of my suggestions and be like, but is it my job to do that? Should I have to organize that for the teacher?
[00:25:24] Should I have to send links to reading? Should I ha no, no, 100%. You should not have to do that. Mm-hmm but could you, will it make it easier? Will it show some grace mm-hmm will it build a, a relationship and some trust and, and it, this working togetherness probably. Yeah. So is it worth it if it’s gonna help?
[00:25:53] I think it is. Yeah.
[00:25:55] Sophia Elliott: And I think, absolutely. I think it’s validating for parents at this point that, oh man. None of that’s easy. Because the chances are, you’re wanting to talk to this teacher because stuff at home stuff with your kid is not going great, which is stressful. It’s hurts to watch our kids in pain.
[00:26:16] Yeah. And it hurts when things are so hard and it’s kind of like, we get where the teaching profession is coming from. And even, you know, and I have been that person talking to that teacher and that deputy principal and that school who really did not get it. Yeah. And were not pleasant about it. Uh, that’s really freaking hard.
[00:26:41] Yeah. But they, they didn’t know better. So it’s not personal as personal as it feels because it’s like, hang on. My kid is hurting here. Yeah. And I’m feeling like you should be professionals and no better, but it’s like, we’re at this difficult period where they just don’t so we can get wound up and inside of ourselves with the unfairness and unjustness of that because it’s unfair.
[00:27:08] It’s yeah. It’s unjust. It just is. Yeah. But I can speak from experience. It doesn’t get you very far or maybe it does. I started a podcast. I don’t know. come talk to me if you wanna vent. It’s fine. We’ll do a podcast episode. Like. Yeah. So it’s just kind like, okay, this is the lay of the land. And it’s kind of like when you walk into that meeting, it’s kinda like, yeah, leave your armor behind.
[00:27:33] And I think the key there Canara were like, right. We really wanna approach this team working together. You know, we’re looking out for what is the best for this child, my child, your student. And it’s just kind of like the, to be honest, the shitty part of this for parents is you don’t know who you’re gonna get.
[00:27:56] No. And it’s like you say, you don’t know if you’re gonna get the teacher who isn’t interested. Doesn’t believe it’s a thing. I know one of them I’m related to one of them. I know lots of them believe it’s a thing. Right. I’ve I’ve worked under
[00:28:08] Kintara Phillips: them, like, yeah. And this is like a lot of that frustration.
[00:28:12] Yeah. That I know parents feel. Yeah. I feel as a teacher. Yeah. You know, because I know better and I wanna do better. Yeah. And, and while I can do better in parts for the 50 odd minutes, I have a child in my classroom for me that doesn’t feel like enough. Yeah. You know? So I, I have had those conversations with leadership.
[00:28:42] I’ve gone in with armor on and been like, ah, and I’ve left because. That principle. I can see doesn’t share my values. Yeah. Doesn’t believe what I believe. And isn’t going to change. Yeah. I don’t have the energy to fight that fight. Yeah. So, you know what I’m going. I’m gonna go and find somewhere else. Yeah.
[00:29:04] That maybe will. And
[00:29:06] Sophia Elliott: unfortunately, as a parent of a, a gifted and neuro divergent child, there is a point which you have to ask yourself, the question is this a school for us? And it’s kind of like, you know, and I know way too many people. And they’ve been at like 2, 3, 4 plus schools because they all have not been the school for them.
[00:29:28] And that is the hard reality of, and that is just traumatic for the child and the family and, and it, but that’s the world we’re living in.
[00:29:37] Kintara Phillips: Unfortunately, one of, one of my young people that I work with, we’re on, uh, educational setting number eight. Oh,
[00:29:46] Sophia Elliott: how old is that kid? 13. 13. Oh my God. 13. Yeah. Like have they even been at school for, what is that?
[00:29:57] That’s like
[00:29:57] Kintara Phillips: seven years at school. You’re you’re eight in Victoria. Oh my God. Eighth year of school. Eighth educational setting. Yeah.
[00:30:06] Sophia Elliott: Like that’s not cool. No. You know. Yeah. And, and recently one of our members was like talking to their school and they’d just changed to this school. They had all of these hopes and expectations, cuz they sort of said the right things, but it’s gone pear shaped and they’ve had a meeting with the leadership and the leadership’s kind of like, you know, how, when you first sort of came to, to see us and you were considering, you know, is it homeschooling or us, maybe it’s time to think about homeschooling cuz we are really not able to meet your child’s needs.
[00:30:40] And it’s kind like those conversations happen around the world all the time. Yeah. With parents of gifted kids and schools. And I’m so sorry for all of those kids and all those parents having to go through that trauma cuz it is trauma. It is. And it’s kind of like, but I need, I guess it’s kinda like, let’s be real because if you’re going and if you are having that experience and you’re like thinking, is it just me?
[00:31:06] And I’m really sorry to say, it’s not just you it’s no. So in some ways that sucks and in other ways, at least now, you know, it’s not just you.
[00:31:14] Kintara Phillips: Yeah. That’s it. Yeah. You know, and, and I think you know, yeah. Making the decision to, to leave a school or to try another school is, is a huge one. Yeah. And for lots of people, is another school, even an option, your family, you know, is there another option within a reasonable commute?
[00:31:35] Because for lots of people there’s not, is there is there an option that is financially viable to your family? Because some people are really limited by financial opportunity. You know, so, so there are lots of those kinds of things that, that happen. And then, like you said, you go and you do tours of schools and you meet with, with people and you ask questions and they seem to give all the right answers and tick the boxes, but then the reality’s very different.
[00:32:04] Yeah. So, you know, I suppose some things that are maybe for parents to think about that they might not have thought about before, you know, from, I suppose my teacher perspective. Yeah. And that side you know, I I’m all for want, like when you ask the questions and like I said, you can, the, the general expectation will probably be that teachers know nothing or very little, right.
[00:32:31] So a teacher who said, or a school that said, oh, yes, we’ve got all of this experience, gifted, gifted learners, and we know blah, blah, blah, blah. But there was no. You’re like, oh, well, where does that come from? Or I go and Google people’s names and they’re not showing up anywhere as having that extra training in gifted ed or, you know, like, it’s almost like for me, a little bit of a red flag of schools or teachers that are too keen.
[00:32:56] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, sure. You know,
[00:32:57] Kintara Phillips: like without, without the, the backup. Yeah. And, and, you know, using myself as an example, if, if I was asked, you know, well what’s, and it it’s happened, you know, when I’ve been in schools, I’ve, I’ve run faculties and open nights and all of those things. And, you know, I’ve had parents sort of say often it’s, they’ll ask someone else and, and someone else is like, see that, see that woman go and ask her.
[00:33:17] She, she knows, she knows about gifted stuff. And I will always, I don’t know whether it’s just a me thing, whether it’s being twice exceptional and feeling like I have to justify my existence all the time in the world, but I will always start with parents, you know, thanks for coming and having a chat with me, gifted kids and my jam.
[00:33:35] I have a master’s in gifted education. I have this experience. So I let them know. Yeah. I’m not just blowing smoke up there, but like, I, I do have some stuff. So I think, you know, schools that seem to offer the world, but can’t really provide some, a little bit of evidence or experience to back that up is maybe a little worrying.
[00:34:00] Yeah. I’m always pretty keen on. Teachers that you, you might ask them, you know, what, what’s your experience with gifted kids or what do you know about giftedness or twice exceptionality or, or whatever the case may be. And I think there’s a lot to be said for teachers who are secure enough in their own abilities that they go, you know, not a heap actually.
[00:34:20] Yeah. Not, not really. Like, I haven’t really had a lot. So, so keen to learn more. Yeah. But I just haven’t really, I think an openness and a willingness to admit that they don’t know, but they, they want to know can be a really good indicator.
[00:34:37] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. And I’ve had that experience. So one of my kids, it was their kindy and we were really upfront and they were like, actually not a lot, but they were just really keen and they, they learnt and they were open to it and they, yeah.
[00:34:58] And they took concrete moves to understand and, and meet their needs. And I think what you were saying, there is, so as a parent, if you’re going to a school and you’re kind of like, what do I ask? What do I look for these kinds of things? What you’ve said there is you should be able to say, you know, like ask a question like.
[00:35:23] Do you have a gifted program or how do you meet the needs of gifted kids and what you might expect is a yes or a no, first of all, like a gifted program is a gifted program. Like that means they’ve got a program it’s well, for out, they can go here. It is bam. Or you might have, sometimes they might say, well, we do pull out classes and accelerate provisions.
[00:35:45] Yes. Provisions that’s right. Principal program. It’s like you say, there should be concrete things that they can point to. Yes. So we have provisions or accommodations and we either accelerate or we have this class or we have that class, and this is how we meet the needs of those students. So there are concrete things and like you said, they should be run or managed by people who have concrete experience.
[00:36:10] And at the moment that is basically a masters of gifted ed. One would expect because you don’t do it in undergrad or someone who may be like, I’ve taught Dick gifted programs forever. Do you know? Or yeah, but there’s that concrete kind of, this is my expertise because it is a, it’s a skillset. Yes. And this is the concrete program that we have or at the very least.
[00:36:37] A willingness, because if your options are very limited, like ours were with the kindie. I mean, you just don’t get gifted programs in kindies here in essay anyway. And you know, I knew I wasn’t gonna get any kind of gifted program, but I had a willingness and you can only take people on face value and cross your fingers that they mean it and, and kind of hope that, you know, they’re being sincere about that.
[00:37:01] Cuz it doesn’t always work out that way, but there, there are the concrete things you can actually look for and it’s okay to ask that.
[00:37:09] Kintara Phillips: Yeah. And I, and I think it in, in a sense it’s I it’s important to ask it. Yeah. And it’s also, you know, I, I know there are lots of parents and I see lots of, kind of chat around social media about the word gifted and using gifted and people’s reactions to using the word gifted and And I get it.
[00:37:28] Like, I, I do get it, but I think from a parent perspective, if you’re going into a school and asking those questions, don’t sugar coat it. Yeah. What, what kind of things can you do for kids who need some extension or have some high potential, Laura, you know, high achievers or quick finishes? Don’t sugar coat it.
[00:37:46] Yeah, because actually go in and say, what can we do for my gifted child? Yeah. Because the way they react to The G Word may also give you some hints. Oh, that’s so true into what you’re getting when we sugar coat it, when we go, oh, you know, they’re a quick finisher or they, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re a little bit clever.
[00:38:06] It gives them, it gives, you know, just gives out of like, oh, well you didn’t say they were gifted, gifted, you know, like you just said, they were a little bit clever or whatever. So yeah, I think using the word can and then reading the reaction can actually, yeah.
[00:38:24] Sophia Elliott: Cause if someone, if you say, what do you do for gifted kids?
[00:38:27] And someone rolls their eyes. That’s a pretty good red flag right there. I asked a principal once and they were like, well, we have kids with many gifts and I was
[00:38:35] Kintara Phillips: yeah. And you were like, right. Red flags
[00:38:38] Sophia Elliott: moving on. And, but also the other thing is like, what you just said there, like high achieving kids.
[00:38:46] Quick finishes, all those kind of terminology. You just used their different kids. Mm-hmm like a high achieving kid is not a gifted kid. These are two different categories of kids. So if you go in talking about what do you do for high achieving kids, or they’re gonna talk about high achieving
[00:39:01] Kintara Phillips: kids, what they do for high
[00:39:02] Sophia Elliott: achieving kids.
[00:39:02] Yeah. Not gifted kids. So, and look, I realize that if you’re in say the UK, they often will use high learning potential HLP kids here in Australia. If it’s anything it’s gonna be gifted. And, and I think in the us, it can be different terminology as well, but go with what is used professionally in your area, because you wanna know what people’s reactions are to that,
[00:39:27] Kintara Phillips: right?
[00:39:27] Yeah. And if you use the word gifted and the answer you get is using the termin, you know, high potential, high achieving quick finishes, you know, bright kids. Yeah. If the teacher won’t use the terminology yeah. Back at you, they’re not comfortable with the terminology.
[00:39:45] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. Because when you did your master’s, it was a master’s in gifted, gifted education.
[00:39:52] This is the term we’re stuck. Like this is the, the word to use. Yeah. So, and it kind of makes me think of, and it, it reminds me of actually our experience that kind of set us on this journey was when I realized, you know, having my child identified as gifted, doing my own deep dive in research. In those conversations with the school, which were very unsuccessful.
[00:40:16] What I realized was they were trying to meet the needs of high achievers and they thought that was gifted. Yes. And, and they really didn’t get what gifted was. And when I realized that I was like, okay, cut and run. We need to find another school. Yeah. Aside from all the other issues we were having and it’s kinda like, so, so I think there’s some really good info there for parents about just be upfront, be that person ask that question, especially, oh my God.
[00:40:45] If you have an assessment that says your kid is gifted, you just, you you’ve got that information, use the word. So that’s, that’s I think, great tips in terms of red flags and what to ask and what to look for when you’re looking at schools. Yeah. How do you know when it’s time to leave? And I’ve just shared there, like when I knew it was time to leave, but how would you answer that
[00:41:08] Kintara Phillips: question?
[00:41:08] Yeah. Uh, and, and I think some, like some of the things for me are when those conversations and those meetings and those interactions with, with people within the school are hostile or more negative than, than positive. You know, I, that can be when you, and particularly if leadership, if senior leadership, if the principal.
[00:41:35] Is not on board. Yeah. It doesn’t, you can have a teacher like me yeah. In your responsible for your child. But if the principal is not supportive, it doesn’t matter. I mean, it matters what I do, but it’s never going to be enough or right. Or, you know what I mean, if, oh, a hundred
[00:41:59] Sophia Elliott: percent board experience that, and that is one, the truest thing you could ever say, if, if you are not getting what you need from, like, if leadership aren’t saying the right things, if they’re not on board, it doesn’t matter how good the teacher is.
[00:42:14] Yeah. You will. That teacher will always be bound yes. Beyond what they can make decisions for. And that you will only ever know that for that little year that you have that teacher, that teacher will do what they can, but there is a box around them and that’s
[00:42:30] Kintara Phillips: it. And I teach in secondary. Yeah. You know, I’ve your kid, four or five periods a week.
[00:42:35] I might get 200 minutes a week with them. Yeah. It’s not even like primary where I, I would have them most of every day. Yeah. And I know from experience, like I said, you know, I’ve left schools for that reason because I was, I was too tightly bound. My hands were tied and I knew I could do more and I knew I could do better.
[00:42:54] And, and, and that, that was probably the final straw of me leaving the classroom. Yeah. Because I, I tried on so many schools and so many principals and so many systems and they all just kept me bound. Yeah. You know, and like an example, I, when I did my masters, when I actually the principal that said he didn’t, he didn’t like my gut.
[00:43:19] And then I said, well, I’ve enrolled in this master of, of gift actually started as a grad in gifted education, over retriever masters degree. And I said to him, I’ve enrolled in, you know, master’s of gifted education. And he, he honestly looked at me and
[00:43:36] said, cause this is really important. Like, these kids are really important to me and, and I wanna do better for these kids. And he, he looked me in the eye and he said, but we don’t have gifted kids at the school. And I was like,
[00:43:55] Sophia Elliott: oh
[00:43:56] Kintara Phillips: yeah. And I, I said to, cause I I’m a boat, rocker people. Haven’t, haven’t
[00:44:02] Sophia Elliott: noticed.
[00:44:03] I think that’s what I like about you already.
[00:44:04] Kintara Phillips: Probably a little bit. Yeah. And I, I, I stood in his office and I looked him in the eye and I said two things at there’s an issue there. I said one, we do have gifted kids here. They are everywhere. And I said, I’m only here three days a week, only teach six. I only teach two classes.
[00:44:22] And I can tell you at least half a dozen kids that I interact with on a daily basis who are gifted at this school right now. So that’s one issue. And that I said, you know, I teach two classes at a whole school. And I said, the other issue is, and this is where I, I push. I said, I think it’s cute that you think I’m gonna work here with you forever.
[00:44:44] And he was like, and then he said, as I left, he said to me, you know, well, if you have, if you feel like you have to get a master’s degree to prove something, why don’t you do it in something useful, like educational leadership . And I was like, cause I don’t want to . So, you know, yeah. I, I get, and that’s it when doesn’t matter what I thought, what I believed, what I, you know, it wasn’t just wasn’t enough.
[00:45:13] You know, there was no way I had kids in my U 10 English class who needed to be radically acceler. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Yeah. There was no way that conversation was happening with that principal in that, that wasn’t happening in that school ever. Yeah. Yeah. You know, so I did what I could in those 50 minutes, four or five times a week.
[00:45:33] I had that kid. Yeah. But that, you know what, it’s just, I don’t know. It’s not enough. And I’m just one of those it’s kinda like wanna
[00:45:40] Sophia Elliott: settle. Yeah. Why should we always settle? And it’s kinda like, and, and that’s my, I have an issue with like gifted pullout programs. It’s kind like, well, we’ll treat your child as gifted for that hour a week.
[00:45:53] Yeah. It’s kinda like there, sorry. It’s 24 7. Yeah. You know, and it’s kind like, I know that’s better than nothing, but oh my God. We should be able to do so much better than that. Yeah. .
[00:46:07] Wow. Well, that’s the end of part, one of navigating education with gifted kids with Conterra Phillips. You can stay tuned for part two of that conversation. Which will be published next week.
[00:46:19] And in the meantime, let us know what you thought. What do you think? And I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.