April 19, 2018

The graded tests are face down on all of the desks. The teacher gives her students the OK to flip theirs and begin reviewing her feedback, and out of the corner of her eye, she sees the look of utter devastation on the face of one student.

She’s surprised if not shocked, however, because she knows that student’s work was among the best in the class, an A-minus paired with a handwritten note of congratulations for a job well done.

Such are the unique challenges with students who fall into the “gifted” category.

(Gifted) students are different kids with different types of needs,” says Susannah Wood, an associate professor at the University of Iowa College of Education where she teaches both doctoral and students who are pursuing their master’s in school counseling with an emphasis in gifted education in partnership with the UI’s Belin Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development in the UI College of Education.

“It could be students who are scoring (in the) 99th percentile on standardized tests, but getting C’s and D’s in their classes. It could be students who are so wracked with anxiety because they’re dealing with high levels of perfectionism and, so, when they get an A-minus, it really is for them extremely painful.”

It was this reality – gifted students truly have different needs – that drives Wood to deepen her investigation and knowledge of how school counselors work with this talented population.

“I am a school counselor and I’m also a gifted education advocate and an advocate for gifted students, as I would be for any student who would need different things,” says Wood.

For more information or resources, visit the UI College of Education's Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development,  the American School Counselor Association, or the National Association for Gifted Children.

To view more tips and best practices for school counselors, visit the UI College of Education's Counselor's Corner landing page.