I recently wore to school a shirt with one of my favorite quotations on it:
"You don't have the moral right to hold one child back to make another child feel better." (Stephanie Tolan)
It's a philosophy that I feel strongly about, but it is also one that is challenging to diplomatically and effectively express, let alone help others to understand. In addition to my bold, upfront advocacy strategies over the years, I have also deployed some subtle ones. The day I wore this shirt, I felt in the mood to quietly wear such a daring statement... and see what happened.
It didn't take long. In addition to my students, who gave me a thumbs up as we passed in the hallway, I was stopped by a parent at one school who was in the process of forging though the advocacy process to get subject acceleration in place for her child in Reading. Leaps ahead of all the other readers in his grade, she wanted him to be getting the same amount of time of reading instruction at his instructional level as the other kids were getting at theirs. (It's really a very reasonable request/expectation, isn't it?!) As I walked by, she grabbed me to read my shirt and all but cheered as its message hit home. Even though I had previously encouraged and reassured her that her advocacy efforts were reasonable and worthwhile (and that I was available to step in and assist if she needed/desired), seeing that statement on my shirt, and knowing that I was wearing it to each school in our District that day, really had an impact on her. Realizing, seeing, that someone in the school not only "got it" but was also willing to "wear it on her sleeve" all day long almost brought tears to her eyes.
That moment also reminded me of the power that my "voice" can have... for parents, for students, for teachers, for schools. So I decided to hunt for other items that I could wear to school to sport my philosophy. Here are some that I found (click links to see images):
adorkable (I already have one of these, and my students love it! One of my colleagues also told me once when I wore it that I was, after all, her favorite dork ;o)
NErDy for LiFe (created using the Periodic Table)
GEEK (in Greek letters)
THODEEPUGHT (*hint* Look for one word inside another word...)
What do you wear when you want to get your geek on? Do you know of other items with powerful gifted-ed-related messages on them similar to Tolan's quotation? I'd love to hear your ideas!