Don't Forget The Gifted Kids
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Student Life

Don't Forget The Gifted Kids

"Gifted" does not always mean they don't need your support.

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Don't Forget The Gifted Kids
The National Review, Dreamstime

It seems like a lifetime ago that I was once the same age as my students, 7th grade was a rough time I’d rather never revisit, but for many of them their struggles are the same. As someone who was labeled “Gifted” in Kindergarten it was easy for my teachers to not notice gaps in my knowledge. They were quick to assume that I was on track with everyone else and of course I was embarrassed to ever admit I needed help. This pattern of assumption and missing gaps seems to occur in most children who are labeled by their teachers as “gifted” or “accelerated” or any of the other terms we use in education to say that a student learns faster than their peers but this is a dangerous pattern that needs to be changed.

I’ve never been strong in Math classes; numbers cannot hold my interest and if I’m being honest (and vulnerable) when I see numbers I feel like I’m suffocating. If I am given a mathematics problem that is more advanced then the most basic skills I immediately shut down, it’s like asking me to understand and write a paper in a language I have never seen before. This handicap in math though was generally ignored throughout my entire academic career until my junior year of high school. I had maneuvered my way through advanced Math classes, skating by on low B’s with the support of my more math inclined friends and teachers who recognized my struggle and worked to accommodate but none of that helped when I was faced with Honors Math in eleventh grade. My health had begun turning for the worst and I suddenly found myself in a classroom environment where the pace was too fast, the teacher couldn’t understand that my learning style for Math was different than everyone else’s, and I suddenly found myself in a position I had never been in within school; I was failing. I wont go into the details of how I pulled my grade up to passing but the point of this is to show how down and out I got simply because there was no support or understanding for the “gifted” student who had become below average.

Gifted students often put pressure on themselves to do well; they will hide when they don’t understand something, never asking for help from their teachers, and never admitting that they are unsure. For some it’s personality (it’s no secret that many “gifted” kids are not socially gifted) and for others it’s the fear of disappointing the people who have told them how brilliant they are. In my case it was a perfect storm of both, it felt easier to just pretend like I wasn’t struggling because everyone knows “gifted” kids don’t struggle. It is important for every student to have their needs met, including those students who needs may not be obvious because they are hiding them behind talent and skill in areas which they exceed expectations. Even if you’re not a teacher if you have a “gifted” child in your life and you feel as if they are struggling whether it is academically, socially, or emotionally let them know that you are here for them. Let them see that it is okay to fail sometimes as long as they keep pulling themselves up and trying again. Instill in your children the idea that to not understand something is fine and a normal part of life, let them see that you will love them no matter what. In short what I’m trying to say is please don’t forget the gifted kids, because sometimes they need your help too.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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