8 Reasons to Go to the MAGC Conference
Admit it. You haven’t been to an MAGC Conference and you are a bit apprehensive. You probably won’t know anyone and you don’t want to spend your Saturday hanging with a bunch of nerds. Yep, I’ve been there too. This is why you should go:
1) You don’t know many parents of gifted kids. I remember first starting out parenting gifted daughters and wondering what was normal. She has imaginary friends. Is this normal? She talks about storing information in folders in her head. Is this normal? She read a book on cancer and is now petrified. Is this normal? I can’t get her to stop reading! Is this normal? Once I met parents of other gifted children, I found that gifted normal was a wide range. You need this conference to meet more parents of gifted children!
2) You can’t talk about giftedness. I know that dance. You think someone might have a gifted child. You ask indirect questions trying to find out because the g-word can shut down a conversation if their child isn’t. Eventually, you find out their child is gifted and have a nice chat – until someone else joins the conversation and you have to change the subject. At the MAGC Conference, there is no shame! No dance! Just nice chats with parents, teachers, experts, and other supporters of gifted learners!
3) You don’t want to be surrounded by nerds. I might be a nerd, but not all of us are. We welcome non-nerds too and have quite a few. We have a entire session on “But You Don’t Look Like a Nerd: Addressing Stereotypes” by Ann Grahl of Supporting Gifted Learners, the largest Facebook page about giftedness. But nerd or not, you’ll find your tribe at the MAGC Conference.
4) You don’t know much about giftedness. I was worried at my first MAGC Conference that it would be like attending a software conference – anyone who wasn’t a guru would be lost and confused! Thankfully, the MAGC Conference has plenty of sessions aimed at parents and educators new to the gifted experience. There are also sessions to explore aspects more deeply, such as Nan Janecke’s information on finding the right colleges for gifted teens or Mark Talaga’s session on helping gifted individuals who are risk-averse. If you are new or experienced, we have great sessions for you!
5) My kids are doing fine academically, so I don’t need it. Everyone thinks of academics when they hear giftedness. But gifted children and teens live in a unique social and emotional world too. Sometime they feel cut off from their friends or wonder what is wrong with them. Dr. Jennifer Cross explores the social world of gifted adolescents and former National Association for Gifted Children president Dr. Tracy Cross looks at the emotional world of coping with giftedness, sometimes through self-harm and underachievement. Social and emotional aspects of giftedness are just as important!
6) I’m not gifted, so I won’t fit it. You might be and not realize it. Maybe you think you were, but you aren’t anymore. Or you may not be gifted, but want to support your student or your child. We are the Michigan Association FOR Gifted Children and no one needs to be gifted to support gifted learners! In fact, one of our board members is not gifted, but realizes how much her child needs a parent working to understand him. And if you were gifted, you might just find out a few things about yourself in Ellen Fiedler’s sessions on gifted adults.
7) My child isn’t the typical gifted child. Some “gifted” programs are filled with rich white kids without learning disabilities and many minority, low-income, or learning disabled gifted learners are missed. Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, national expert on minority gifted students, will be presenting on identifying and supporting these overlooked children. There is no typical gifted child and ALL gifted children need support!
8) But I still won’t know anyone! Yeah, this still freaks me out about conferences. I like to know someone there. So you’ll know me! I’ll be there and have my MAGC name tag on. Look for me, because I want to meet you! I want to know how Rochester SAGE and the Michigan Association for Gifted Children can support you! I’ll introduce you to other supporters of gifted learners in your area, so you can know more people too! I’m Joshua Raymond and I have three gifted daughters. I advocate in Rochester Community Schools and am working with Avondale School District to start a gifted magnet school open to Oakland County residents. I hope you come because I want to meet you!
Hopefully by now you are less worried about coming to the MAGC Conference and are looking forward to meeting other parents and educators; exploring the academic, social, and emotional sides of gifted children; and finding out how you can make a difference for gifted learners! Find out more about the conference and register at http://m90212.wixsite.com/magc It costs $75 for non-members and that includes a membership which gives you access to MAGC benefits and helps MAGC advocate for gifted students in Michigan and provide information on gifted children to parents and educators!
I hope to see you there!