It’s here, the end of the school year, when all of us can replenish and renew. I can’t help but smile listening to students express their excitement about summer break because I think as adults, it makes us smile, too!
Some of you may already know me from my books (Please Stop Laughing At Me…., Please Stop Laughing At Us….). I’m a survivor of school bullying, author and speaker who travels to schools sharing my story to motivate change. It was wonderful seeing so many of you in St. Louis and I hope you’ll be attending the 2017 NCEA New Directions Exceptional Learners Conference in Chicago. I’ll be giving a workshop on the typical profile of the bullied student, an exceptional learner called: “The Ancient Child.”
Most of you already know this student. He or she is typically more verbally and socially sophisticated than their peers. They’re articulate. When you speak to them, it’s as if you’re having a conversation with another adult. You almost forget you’re talking to a child. These are the kids you might describe as “old souls.”
The Ancient Child is compassionate and empathetic far beyond their years, sensitive and deeply intuitive. They tend to gravitate more toward adult company, often complaining that their classmates are “too immature.” And while The Ancient Child may actually have more in common with adults culturally and socially, they still hunger for peer acceptance emotionally. As a result, their attempts at connecting with other kids are often awkward or strained. Students who fit the profile of The Ancient Child are the ones who fall through the cracks their entire young lives because they’re betwixt and between—they SEE the world through a mature, adult lens; but they EXPERIENCE life through the emotional reality of their age.
I ought to know…I was an Ancient Child. When I go in to schools to speak, I meet hundreds of these exceptional learners and they tell me their stories. Their struggle is real. Working with them has helped me to understand this under-served student population from a whole new perspective….that of the adult looking back, finally able to make sense of it.
In my workshop, I’ll talk about how to work with these students, how to get through to them, how to make them feel as if someone really DOES understand. I’ll show you how to identify The Ancient Child students in your classroom; what you should never say to an Ancient Child who’s being bullied, and what you SHOULD tell them; how to help parents better understand their needs; why traditional punishment won’t work with these old souls, and how to implement more enlightened forms of discipline conducive to their specific mindset; the typical types of exclusion and bullying The Ancient Child faces at school; and how to help them make friends, accept themselves as they are, and learn to navigate the world using their special, exceptional gifts to succeed.
I hope to see you there!
Survivor turned activist, Jodee Blanco is the author of four books on bullying, including the seminal New York Times bestseller Please Stop Laughing At Me…, required reading in middle and high schools across the country. She travels to schools, sharing her story to save lives, and has spoken to over a half-million people worldwide.
For books, seminars and additional information, please visit jodeeblanco.com.