I recently had a conversation about words other people have said that were hurtful. I teach in a gifted program. I am sharing this to help people understand. I don’t want to argue about what the best model for education is or talk about what is fair. I want to talk about the thing that matters most… the kids. The mis-perceptions of labels in our educational system puts our kids into a predicament. The lack of understanding. The unwillingness to address kids with differences. Mold yourself to fit in, or don’t. If you don’t? Be prepared. People will say hurtful things.
- “Duh, you should know that, you’re SO gifted.”
- “Can’t you spell? I thought you knew everything.”
- “It’s not fair you get to go do other things, you don’t even seem smart.”
- “You’re weird.”
- “Why can’t you just be normal?”
- “Oh, well, since YOU’RE gifted, you must know all the answers…”
- “You must just play games in class all day?”
- “Geeze, you missed so many problems on that test, I thought you were gifted!”
These statements? They are real. Real things that people felt it was okay to say to each other. Real things that hurt. It’s not about elitism. It’s not about “better.” It’s about different. A kid said it best: ”We’re not better, we just think differently.” Why do we hang posters on the walls of our schools that are all about diversity, differences, and being unique if we’re going to expect kids to think one way or be another? Embrace differences. Celebrate uniqueness. Above all? Meet their needs. That’s where learning and growth truly happen.