I came across the first article linked below via virtuefern’s site (it’s on hiatus at the moment) and found it to be a somewhat interesting article to read about adults who were labeled gifted children. Now, I’m not proclaiming myself to be gifted, because I do not know that I necessarily believe in the whole concept of giftness. I do believe in multiple intelligences and creativity, but giftness? Not sure, even though I am a product (or am I?) of that attempt at education. However, I find these articles about gifted children to be interesting.
In thinking back on the assortment of students at my schools who were in the gifted programs with me, it just seemed like a catch all for the smart or creative kids who didn’t fit anywhere else. We were the kids that couldn’t be stuck in remedial special ed and were too bored or disruptive for a regularclass. We were the comedians, the brillant mad scientists, the very studious students, the doctors to be (or so they thought), the artists & writers, the geek squad, the problem solvers, and the students who transferred from elsewhere who might have been ahead of the regular classes.
It’s kind of funny because up until I was in high school, gifted classes felt anything but. All the testing I did as a first and second grader was scary. Why was a constantly pulled out of class to take one kind of test or another? I vividly remember two teachers whispering about the tests. It just seemed that they were determined to put me into the appropriate box. For better or worse, I ended up in the gifted program. Being part of the gifted program is kind of weird. For a child who feels intense pressure to be normal, pulling them out to send them to a special class is the last thing they want. In fact, I didn’t even really understand that I was in the gifted class vs. the remedial/special ed class until the end of third grade and one of my fellow students explained it to me.
The other problem is that the gifted program students seemed to come from the most wealthy families in my school or at least families who spent alot of money on their kids vs. my family who was recovering from a financial setback and a case of agoraphobia. Hmm, students with the best access to resources and enriching experiences, fit the criteria for giftness the best. I wonder if that is still true?
Which leads me to what makes a gifted student…. Are gifted students made or created? Does having the best access to a stimulating and enriching environment, a label of giftness, make a gifted student? And what happens when they become adults?
Of my fellow gifted students from high school (who I mostly no longer am in touch with but hear about occasionally) one became a lawyer on Capital Hill/science fiction writer who left Washington to focus on his writing career, one joined the Peace Corps (only to be heard from as he was passing from location to location), one studied opera and now runs her family’s antique business; another is a local potter, yet another joined the military, the brillant mad scientist had a psychotic snap and seems to be unaccounted for, two are dentists, one or two doctors, a mom, and one is a Chemistry professor/inventor of educational toys.
…. oh, and then me, who is not especially great at anything. Ok, I’m not saying that to belittle myself, I’m just equally good at alot of things, but I don’t have any one special talent. Before visual arts, I was a writer. I’m equally comfortable writing prose or code for websites. My code is suitable and ok, but not perfect. My prose works but is wordy. See what I mean? I have terrible test anxiety yet I’ve scored high enough on several tests to be in MENSA.
That’s me Ms. Multidiscipline Multitasker.