Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bragging: Who's fault is it?

Comment on Ms Teacher's Blog

Yes, bragging/arrogance can be a problem with gifted kids---we discuss it our gifted ed class a couple of times a year. My experience has been that the bragging usually ends by 5th grade when it becomes socially unacceptable. BUT, I don't blame the kids I blame the parents and primary teachers and here's why---

There is nothing more fun than have gifted kids, I have three of them. When you have a two and a half year old who can read or a kindergartener who knows the stats of every major league baseball player you tend to drag them out to show-off at family gatherings. When a child enters school reading the teacher and other students put the kid is the academic spotlight, he's kind of a rock star! These students end up being teacher helpers, held up as examples of the "right way to do things" (both behavior and academic), tutors to slower kids and we wonder why they began to see themselves as what they do rather than who they are.

We put them on the pedestal and then wonder why they end up a bit arrogant. hmmmmm, what's wrong with this picture?


Mrs. Morris' 5th Grade Class said...

Hello! I have just atrted a class blog with my 5th graders here in Olathe, Colorado! I was wondering if we could do a "blogging pen pal exchange, where my kiddos and yours comment on each others writing???

Mary Morris

Anonymous said...

Not every gifted kid is put in the spotlight or is a rock star. Some teachers think these are a hassles ("she already knows the standards, why do you want her to do more? Ummm, because it is September and there are eight months of school left"). Or better yet, emotionally disturbed. One teacher felt compelled to send me emails about how often smart people had mental illnesses, e.g. John Nash.

I suspect that if smart kids were put in a classroom with other smart kids, given appropriate challenging material, and expected to learn every day, there wouldn't be some many comments about the smart kids being arrogant.

nbosch said...

As I have mentioned several times sadly, things have not gotten better for gifted kids in the regular classroom and in some cases they are getting worse (with NCLB, high stakes testing, scripted reading prgrams, program cuts, etc).

There are lots of options for gifted kids that wouldn't cost a dime---acceleration, clustering, grouping, self contained classrooms....but noooooo, many sit day after day learning NO new material. It is frustrating.

Anon, was the gifted/mental illiness email referencing you or one of your children or one of your students?

Anonymous said...

One of the emails referenced smart people in general. Another compared my daughter to a disturbed Twilight Zone character. After much discussion/dispute with the school, we got my daughter out of that teacher's classroom.

I am keeping the emails to take to the school/school board if the school tries to put another of my children in that teacher's class.

I am far too cynical to believe that school will do anything about that teacher (he has tenure), but I hope that they would be sufficiently embarrassed if the email become public that they will get my other kids out of his class.

nbosch said...

Wow, that's terrible. I've heard some horror stories from kids but never had an unbearable situation. I did have two kids head to private this year and one (more) is being homeschooled.

Anonymous said...

I suspect unbearable situations are more common than people want to believe.

On a an email list I subscribe to, there is a discussion going on about whether school districts bureaucrats are malicious or simply people who don't know or care about the needs of gifted kids.

Personally, I tend to favor the incompetence theory over the malice theory, if only because it is might be possible to reach the people who don't understand that gifted kids need to be able to learn in school.

But, my own experiences lead me to believe that the malice theory cannot be completely discounted. After all, the superintendent of my school district told me it was unrealistic to expect my child to learn something in school every day. Also that my child should learn to be happy when other children mastered concepts.

Why did your kids head to private/homeschool?

nbosch said...

I think they leave for several reasons but curriculum and pace are the main reasons. Too little being taught too slowly. Wanna get your dander up? Read this post and then go to the "original" article that fueled the post. Yikes---

Anonymous said...

I'm the parent of a gifted child. I thought it was a GOOD thing...until my child started kindergarten. In preschool his teacher encouraged him to read, to play with math, to explore the world of learning. Grade school was a disaster. On the one hand, I had the teacher telling me, "He needs to be in a gifted setting" and the principal insisting, "I can't put him in the gifted class because he FIDGETS IN HIS SEAT in the regular class" and "He's passing the standardized tests--WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?!" (Gee, how about an EDUCATION?) We had many years of frustration until I threw in the towel and went the private school route. I found one that said, "We'll test him and place him where he needs to be"...and they kept that promise. How pathetic that I'm so tearfully grateful that my child is getting an appropriate education--if he were special ed, he would get a free public education. If he were a sports star, the high schools would be beating down my door. But because his brain works very well, he was treated like a pariah by his school principal.

nbosch said...

Read this if you want a trip down memory lane, Tamara has hit many nails on the head.