Friday, June 13, 2014

Gifted Kids Have It Easy (Academically)

You think gifted kids have it easy - they don't have to work hard to get good grades; the teachers love them. Yes, gifted kids have it easy.

Too easy.

You think it is great to not have to work hard to get good grades?  So, while you are learning good work habits, how to study, how to fight off distractions, and how to recover from errors and mistakes, the gifted kid never has to deal with most of those problems.  And that IS the problem.  Why shouldn't GT kids have to work hard?  Why shouldn't they have to work as hard as the rest of the kids?  We don't give other kids a pass when the going gets hard - we support them in their struggles.  Why not make the gifted kids work hard, too?

Yes, all kids need a chance to get interested in things and follow their interests, but ALL kids, gifted kids included, need to know that sometimes learning something is HARD.  Sometimes it isn't especially fun.  Sometimes you make MISTAKES.  Sometimes you feel DISCOURAGED.  It isn't the end of the world and they can get through all of those things. 

No, teachers don't actually love all of the gifted kids.  GTs make them feel strangely uneasy.  The teachers know that they aren't really teaching some of the GT kids very much.  They learn the lesson too quickly and then the teacher has to think up something for the GT kid to do while the rest of the kids are still working.  They may be ready to go on to a new part of the lesson, but that would spoil the motivation s/he planned to present for the other kids, make other kids jealous, and get everyone out of sync.  They could work on something related to the topic, but there aren't any materials for that and, besides, the teacher doesn't really know how to teach anything about that, so the GT kid would just be working on her/his own.  So, usually, the GT kid just gets to read quietly while the others finish.  That is common enough that the other kids aren't jealous of the opportunity and the teacher doesn't have to find something else for them to do.  Anyway, reading is a good activity, isn't it?  It's easy.

Too easy.

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