Thursday, January 17, 2008

Some might call it a hissy fit, but I call it caring about my kids

Yesterday I got angry. I got very, very, very angry and because it is rainy and cold outside, and I had my kids, I didn't go for a jog a la Sophie. Instead I joined in that time-honored traditional outlet: venting with my friends, most of whom are also very, very, very angry.

It's about our kids. And school.

It's difficult to talk too much about specifics now because of things that are or may be happening (or not), some things that require investigation and open-minded talking, and a careful think-through of how I should proceed.

And it's frustrating to feel gagged at the moment, when I do so like words to flow with impunity and freedom. ;)

The important thing about the talks I had with my friends yesterday and the other talks over the course of this week is that I have some excellent, constructive ideas and a plan of action.

As more than one friend suggested I do, I'm going to collect the myriad of posts I've written about my school concerns and put them together in a packet of "I'm part of the solution and want to offer constructive suggestions about ways I hope the school can continue to get better and better."

In the meantime, I'd like to talk about a couple of things I can talk about with regard to children and education.

Scenario: Do bright kids get bored? Do gifted and talented kids get bored?

"She comes home every day dispirited and uninterested," I complained to my four mom friends, "She tells me she's bored. I ask her what she does when she gets bored, and she says, 'get in trouble.' She has gotten a few more yellow cautions than ever before, but that hasn't been enough to send up a red flag to me. It's more her demeanor, and what she says."

"You can give her ideas of things she can do to keep herself interested," my smart former teacher friend said, "For example, tell her to draw on the back of her worksheet, or continue the assignment a step further on her own."

"She does that," I said, "Practically every worksheet comes home with something extra on the back. The one that cracks me up the most are the little booklets they do every week. She writes the book frontwards and then backwards, and traces the illustration on the back of the page and colors it twice. And still she says she's bored."

"You know, gifted and talented kids don't get bored; bright kids might, but it's the average and bright kids who are the troublemakers when they get bored," said my super smart Master's in early childhood education friend.

"Well we have no idea if Patience is GT," I said, and got at least one pair of eyes rolled at me, but it's true: we don't know. She might not be, at least not by our district's standards. Because there are a lot of superbright kids, the gifted and talented program has carefully set and narrow parameters.

"It's true," another friend chimed in, "Superbright kids shouldn't be bored."

I've heard this argument before. I think it's oversimplified. I believe every human being, regardless of intelligence level, has the potential to get bored. I think it's what comes next that we need to consider.

How do we each cope with boredom, when it happens to us?

My kids both get bored. That's when they provide great blog fodder, such as jokes and science experiments, Persistence and the Any Substance That Can Be Employed in Multimedia Art messes, cooking, and so forth. In general, Patience is excellent at thinking of imaginative and okay ways to play. Persistence, my little investigative experimenter, is often at the head of a mess. My kids, left to their own devices, are never, by their estimation, bored. However, I can tell when they need a little positive direction.

In the classroom, it's a different thing altogether. In the classroom, Patience is part of a collective, and the collective must work together to achieve some degree of harmony, within which they can learn. When she completes her work, doodles a bit, and then starts thinking while waiting for the preset allotted time for the assignment to conclude, she can forget the rules in the pursuit of additional challenge and stimulation.

I've had parents say to me that I need to teach my kids how to have down time. This annoys me because I know what they mean: teach my kids to be okay with sitting and doing nothing. I'm not okay with that, and I don't think it's a size that fits all, anyway. In fact, I'm not sure who that fits.

I know how my kids' brains work, to some degree. They are similar to me and my husband. Our idea of downtime is still some sort of activity. I consider riding a bike relaxing. I consider reading a book relaxing. It's true I'm still doing something, but the way I work is that I am fairly incapable of doing nothing.

My kids are similar. We have quieter activities. I know exactly how Patience recharges: alone, in her room, quietly playing with a toy or reading. Persistence seems to gather energy by playing with others. I know you hear what I'm hinting at here.

But in my mind, all of this is moot. The kids are in the classroom to learn, not to sit. So I reject the notion that my child ought to be fine with sitting and feeling bored and restless.

(However, I do like the idea of her learning how to accommodate different earning styles and speeds. I think it gives a good lesson not only about respecting others, but about respecting ourselves, too.)

Once she completes the lesson and has finished her drawing, she has finished two necessary stages of learning: accomplished a new task and recharged (in her case, through solo creative work). After finishing the drawing, she is ready for the next challenge.

I don't know if her teacher knows any of this. Patience is the sort of child who can slip under the radar, and who might not necessarily share with her teacher. She'll be especially reticent if she gets any kind of warning that indicates she has displeased her teacher or has done something incorrectly. She's incredibly sensitive about that.

So as I stood talking to my friends, I wondered, five years ago I soundly debated and agreed to disagree with the notion that GT kids don't get bored, but am I being too closed about this?

"I think all sorts of kids get bored," my former teacher friend stated, "And when kids hit this, it's not about the kid anymore, it's about the teacher. She's got to challenge the bored kid, or it always ends up with some kid who will think of ways to challenge herself, which is usually some way that the teacher doesn't prefer!"

"Amen to that," I said, thinking of cleaning up smeared yogurt.

I agree with my former teacher friend. Kindergarten classrooms are stimulating; they are stocked with centers that contain interesting items. But are they challenging enough for the bright kids?

Imagine being surrounded by activities that stimulate your curiosity and desire to explore and investigate, and then imagine you are held back from this open exploration by a structure that only allows a prescribed amount of time to indulge in each area of interest. How does that work for you?

Now imagine that up to this point, you have been allowed fairly free rein to explore, and suddenly, you hit Big School and are told: the freedom is over.

How does that work for you?

My only shock is that Patience hasn't received more cautions. I can only attribute this to her desire to be, it's more a desire to do all things correctly.

My only surprise is that more kids don't struggle with this issue.

Being somewhat outside of the general experience is hard. I don't know if it's me (are my expectations unrealistic? am I not cognizant of the challenges of the classroom? have I developed such a different educational style that it's not reasonable to expect that in the classroom of a public school? are we the square pegs trying to fit in a round hole?) or the school or teacher (should they dedicate more time to individualized and freer teaching? are they providing ample stimulation and challenge?).

What do you think?

Do bright kids, GT kids, any kids get bored?

What do your kids do when they get bored?

What do you think?

Funny aside: Persistence has been having vivid dreams about food. If I wasn't convinced she's about to have a growth spurt already, I would be now. Yesterday we had to search every nook and cranny to convince her there are no donuts in this house. Today? Gummies. Oy.

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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Family Adventure said...

I think it's silly to say that certain kids, because of their IQ, won't get bored. It's my impression that some kids don't seem to get bored much at all, while other kids are bored all the time. Regardless of IQ. My youngest is classified as "gifted", and believe you me, he is frequently bored. Even with an ADHD diagnosis. You'd think it wouldn't be possible... :)

I do have some concerns about this whole giftedness classification that schools seem to love so much, but that's a different post - or a much, much longer comment!

I hope you get the school issues you alluded to resolved...good luck!


wheelsonthebus said...

Can of worms here, Julie. You have opened my particular can of worms. Patience and Zachary are peas in a pod, and I have so many thoughts on this.

All people can get bored. It is moronic to intimate otherwise. It may take MORE to bore some people than others, but everyone can get bored. (I say that realizing I am actually never bored. But I KNOW I was sometimes in school. Now, I have more control over my life.)

I despise when people tell me to learn to take down time. I take down time, but down time without doing something is dull. And, if I don't have to do nothing, i would rather not. Most children feel the same way.

Zachary (who is, you know, THREE) told me yesterday that he did not want to go to school. Why? Because he does not have the pencil control to complete the WORKSHEETS they are giving him. They are not challenging him -- it is beyond his physical abilities. But, as soon as he can do it, he will find it completely boring.

My point? Activities should be designed to challenge the kids but not be beyond what they are capable of. Because they will get in trouble if they cannot do something because it will bore AND frustrate them. Creatively designed activities allow some kids to go further than others. The problem is the teacher's.

thordora said...

First, best post name EVER. :)

I was one of those kids, perpetually bored in class-not gifted, but advanced, superbright, excelling, whatever. I remember BEGGING for more work, almost every year, and being told no, there was none to be had, sit still and wait.

I was told I'd be placed in enrichment. Never happened.

I don't think it's a matter of IQ, labels or "stuff" in the room. It's a matter of engagement. My favorite teacher EVER, Mrs. Adamson, did not give us a thousand activities. She did not load us with work. She engaged her room with her stories and her ability to make anything a teachable moment. She made me open my mind to new things and new ways of looking at the world. At 7 years old, she blew my mind.

I cried when she retired.

Many other years I was bored, told it was my fault and yet told I couldn't do anything beyond what they had set out for me. That I had to wait for the slower kids. My frustration at my needs be sacrificed for the other kids was huge. No one sped up for me, kwim?

I worry about this now because Vivian starts in Sept, and she's showing all the signs of being me, with the exception of her extrovertism. She's got this immense thirst for knowledge, which will likely be beaten down as I felt mine was. Learning because very boring and unattractive for awhile, because few teachers cared to make it interesting and worthwhile for EVERYONE.

I want kids who are interested, not bored and dulled down by 10.

TwoSquareMeals said...

I think you are touching on a big problem with public schools. We celebrate the status quo in education, and we often want children to think that they are all equal. They aren't. They are all precious and beautiful and created in God's image, but they are not all equal in gifts and intellect. I love that line from "The Incredibles" when the mom says, "Eveyone's special, Dash." And Dash responds, "That's just another way of saying nobody is."

I applaud you for wanting to do something to change things in your own school. I am so overwhelmed with it that if we were staying in the country, I would probably choose a Montessori or other private school. As it is, we are moving somewhere where my kids can't go to public school, and there aren't private options. Homeschool here I come.

Actually, with Calvin's learning style and sensitive little heart, we may even homeschool here. It's not what I would have chosen before I had that kid, but now that I know him, I know it would take a special school to handle his quirks. The only reason preschool is working for him is that it is in another language. He loves language, so though the preschool activities bore him in English, he loves doing things in a new language.

I'm love your insights into education and into how you raise your girls. Keep the writing coming!

Sober Briquette said...

I think school can be very boring to a child who is bright and obedient.

I cannot imagine what solutions you are going to find within the school system. Frankly, they are not going to want to know about you.

I don't know how it's going to be possible to achieve what I'd like to with my children, unless I never go back to work, or I make enough money to hire a nanny (who would have to be like Mary Poppins or she'd never do). I'd like to keep them in private school and augment that with enrichment classes (not just the arts, but academics as well). Unfortunately, the classes I'm interested in are either geared toward homeschool groups, so they're held during school hours, or so popular you have to be much more nimble than I am to get a spot.

Bah, I'm just spinning my wheels. My kids will be hanging out, unsupervised, taking drugs and having sex while I toil away at some menial hated job. Bad day here.

Mary Alice said...

I have two G&T children and have had the "opportunity" to have gone though eight different schools in all our moving around. Some schools have more programs that engage gifted and talented kids...some schools don't. Some teachers are better able to keep students engaged...some haven't figured it out yet, some don't have the energy left and a tiny minority don't even care anymore.

If I were to count it up - 8 schools, times three kids, would equal probably 160 teachers...rough estimate. Plus I've worked in schools, my mom was a teacher for 30 years and my sister is a teacher.

Teaching is difficult. In a perfect world a teacher could find all those things out about your child and help her find constructive ways to stay engaged....but the reality? Most teachers have 25-29 kids who are all at different levels, with individual needs and no matter how much a teacher tries, he or she will not be able to meet the needs of everyone all of the time. They have to go with the needs of the majority.

Please don't take this the wrong way at all... I really don't want it to come off as harsh, and it may sound that way - just be aware of how it may sound to the teacher if you go in asking for things for your child and you don't also indicate your understanding of the needs of other children in the classroom and the position the teacher is in.

I know it used to annoy my mother when a parent would come in advocating for their child because their child was G&T and they wanted extra attention for their child. Not that their child wasn't worthy but in the meantime, they had no idea that my mother had five others struggling to meet the bench marks that needed attention too....and didn't have parents that cared or supplemented or could afford too. A teacher is only one person and there are so many needs.

It is a real balancing act. Both for teachers and for parents. I wish the best for your girl. She sounds wonderful.

Sorry for the novel.

thailandchani said...

Yes, I do think gifted kids get bored and that's the shame of the educational system. Since it is geared to the lowest common denominator - a standard that all can meet - the gifted kids are shoved into a box where they'll never fit. The purpose of public education is to train kids for the workplace. Conformity, structure and regimentation.

Only those with the financial resources necessary for private education can even hope to escape that particular condition.

slouching mom said...

Oh, Julie.

Of course they get bored.

Ben is bored. I know it. But he's also behind in writing. He needs to be stimulated more in science and math, where his thinking is quite simply years ahead of his grade.

But if I suggest that he's bored, I am barraged with evidence of his poor compositional skills. And it's perfectly accurate evidence.

But does his performance in one subject mean that he's not worthy of acceleration in another?

He does go to "enrichment" in math for ONE HOUR a week. Talk about a drop in the bucket.

Sigh. I know you'll fight this fight, the good fight. You're gonna rock.

PS I'm sorry I haven't been around, but I've been reading. And lady, your experience in the workplace had my mouth hanging open. said...

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but as a child, I was always in GT classes, and eventually graduated high school at 16 and went to MIT. But I was always bored out of my skull in school. It was extremely difficult to sit still while other kids finished their work or struggled understanding concepts. I ended up goofing off and being disruptive. I had to have my desk moved up to the blackboard and was given detention in later years. (Maybe I'm just a troublemaker at heart!). My parents compensated by giving me extra homework which only accelerated my academic learning. Eventually, I learned to slow down and deal with "down time", which is really just learning how to entertain yourself, not necessarily doing nothing. These days if I'm stuck in a boring meeting, I daydream away, write blog posts in my head, etc.

I'm starting to see the same issues with my son as he has finally started grade school. He completes his math work so fast that the teacher has to give him extra packets while the other children finish their work (which thankfully she has). He has been tagged as "being silly" a lot. He doesn't like to do extra work at home and prefers to play video games, which just keeps his mind racing a million miles and hour. I struggle with thoughts of having him accelerated. Although I apparently turned out OK, it may not be the best route to take. But having a talk with the teacher and the school to learn their philosophy dealing with different children is always good idea. Kids are certainly not the same and should not be taught with a generic manner.

melissa said...

Don't even know where to start on this one...gonna have to take this one to email...

another good thing said...

It's a constant struggle, isn't it?

Man, I appreciate MY mother more and more every year.

melissa said...

Nope I was wrong. Not email. It's a whole post for me. Thanks for the prompt!

But don't worry, I'll still have my haiku up!

liv said...

I have not encountered such quandaries yet. (thankfully) I shall stay in ignorant bliss, just yet.

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

This is a big issue for us. Scott will be tested at the end of this year (first grade) for the enrichment program. I was in the same program when I was a kid and he sure seems smart (I get the same eye rolls from my friends) but I don't know what will happen. And even that will only be a class of two a week.

He is clearly bored and to say that GT kids (or any kids) don't get bored from time to time is ridiculous. Like SM said, your kid might be super bright in one area but behind in a another. They'll be bored one moment and them frustrated another.

The answer? I think it is very difficult to manage all the different learning styles, aptitudes, requirements, etc. that teachers need to. And I can see why people would say, well that kid is already doing well so put your resources with the kids who need help to get up to the middle.

That said, Time Magazine had a great article not too long ago, about how our education system is failing smart kids. These could be the future scientists who cure cancer but they are never challenged and spend their time getting in trouble instead of learning.

A person wrote a letter to the editor about how these kids do not learn how to overcome obstacles b/c they are never faced with a challenge. This can then become not only a waste of intellectual talent, but a serious character flaw where a person assumes everything in life will be easy.

Magpie said...

Fascinating for me to read all of this (your post and the comments).

We're not there yet - my child starts kindergarten next year.

I was certainly in the bored category in school...I failed Algebra in 8th grade because I didn't want to be there, and aced it the following year. It's a tricky thing to navigate. Thanks for blazing a way - for your system and for all of us.

Jenny said...

I don't know all the details so I hesitate to jump in, but I will anyway. I teach GT students (second year of that, eight years before of teaching general education) and I know they get bored. It's my job as a teacher to engage them and keep them learning. It's easier at my level (5th grade) because they are more independent and can do things on their own when they finish assignments. But, there are always things for them to do.

Kindergarten is tougher for the teacher, but it doesn't mean that a child should be left biding her time on a daily basis. It may happen occasionally, and I'm guessing that would not drive you too crazy, but for it to happen regularly is unacceptable. Depending on the attitude at your school this may be an easy discussion or a tough battle. But, you have to advocate for your child. This is her first introduction to school and it needs to be good. She's stuck there for years to come and first impressions are important.

Kyla said...

I'm GT, according to those standards, and I get bored for sure.

BubTar is bright. We had lots more trouble last year (which was his first year of Big School, because of the way his school handles PreK) with him being in trouble. He's made the adjustment this year. Although he still gets in trouble, of course he does, he's five!

Can you meet with the teacher, discuss Patience's need for more of a challenge? Brainstorm on quiet activities she can do once she is done with her seatwork that will keep her challenged, but still allow others to continue working around her. Perhaps keep an interesting book in her desk to read quietly when she is done?

Public school is designed to meet the needs of the largest group it can. It performs well for kids who fit into the typical patterns, but those that fall outside of that range somehow don't always get what they need. It really would be impossible to maintain a system so vast while still meeting individual student needs.

I do think it is important kids do learn to follow instructions, exhibit self control, and function well within the classroom parameters, BUT if their needs aren't being met the parent has to step in, make the needs known, and work alongside the teacher or school to make sure it happens, which is exactly what it sounds like you're doing. I hope you can find a solution!

Andrea said...

I tested very high on aptitude tests. From kindergarten onward, I scored at grade 13 level for reading comprehension and writing. (Which was the highest level on the test.) I was incredibly, incredibly, incredibly bored.

I've been reading novels--real novels--since I was five. And they'd give me a book like "See Spot Run" and what the hell was I supposed to do with it? So yeah, I was bored.

I don't think there is anything htat can be done for it within formal education, period, frankly. I dropped out of my master's program halfway through, partially for the same reason--too easy.

I know this sounds arrogant and obnoxious but IME really bright kids will not learn efficiently around other kids at all.There might be other goals to be served by keeping them there, but education isn't one of them.

dharmamama said...

I admire your resolve to advocate for your daughter! I attempted the same thing with my oldest, and was assured that, of course, he'd be challenged... and things just stayed the same. That, and his very sensitive and sweet nature, helped push us towards unschooling. I know I was seen by other parents (and staff members) as abandoning the school, since I had volunteered so much, etc., but I had to do what was best for my son. Plus, I figure we're an example of a completely different way to learn, so in our own way, we're changing what we can change, and hopefully, that will ripple outwards. Sorry to be so me-centered, but when I see parents working so strongly within the system, I do question whether our decision was selfish. Most of the time I know it wasn't.

And, with my spirited and very contrary, anti-authoritarian youngest, (not sweet and sensitive) I have no doubt school would have been a serious challenge for him.

I'm living on below-poverty-level income so we can continue to unschool, even though I'm a single parent. You find out real quick what's necessary and what's not. Just wanted to say that because most people believe you have to be well off to homeschool - you don't, just creative and thrifty.

We were definitely round pegs trying to fit into square holes. And they wouldn't round off those squares for us, even though it was a charter school that was supposed to be more child-centered. I wonder if things have changed in the 8 years since? Maybe with the work of Mel Levine, Daniel Goleman and others, schools are more responsive to the needs of different kids. Speaking up - loudly and frequently - can only make them more so.

Cathy said...

My oldest heads to kindergarten next year, so I haven't had to grapple with this topic yet.

I've been happy with her preK class, however. Their teacher is young and creative. She's traveled a lot, and brings her experiences into the classroom. When she came back from Guatemala, for example, she took the kids on a "tour." At the of this weeklong "visit" the kids built and set off a volcano.

Anytime I drop in, the kids seem to be really engaged in whatever is going on.

Of course, this is a private school and we're about to send her off to public. I'm not sure yet what to expect.

Gwen said...

Okay, I have to ask: why are some of your friends so quick to assume that because Patience gets bored she's obviouslynot G&T? That's just ...... silly.

(Everyone else already gave you the good advice, etc., so I thought I'd head in a different direction).

Kathryn said...

Good grief! Of course gifted kids can get bored. I think sometimes people try to overthink things. Kids are human. Even gifted kids. And they get bored too.

Rose said...

I was in the GT program, at one school (100 kids) I was the only one. I was very bored in most classes. I still get bored in meetings and such.

Have you looked into homeschooling? We love it!

Aliki2006 said...

You probably don't even need to read this comment to know how I stand on all this. I am heartsick over it--over the fact that my bright and amazing kid might not make it out of 2nd grade this year because his attention just isn't engaged by the work that's being done.

Now he doesn't complain about being bored, but how do you sit down and explain to a kid who spends his day dreaming of building a rocket that he has to go through the routine steps of subtracting multiples?

I'm sorry you're going through all this. Honestly, I h were better in the old days when kids had tutors and they spent their time roaming the woods, studying the stars at night, and drawing maps.


ewe are here said...

I was yanked out of public school for this very reason as a small child: I was bored silly and they couldn't find enough for me to do.

I dread dread dread the day my boys start school, because I think it's much too early over here (before 5!) for 'formal education' to start, expecting small bundles of energy to sit still for ridiculously long periods of time when they're all about movement when they're that young.

flutter said...

Um, just like adults, kids of every denomination get bored.

Gina Pintar said...

I think it nutso to blame a kindergarten child for not being stimuated. I don't think it is a boredom question. I think this is an issue with the teacher. She needs to come up with a solution for the children who are finished with their work to choose another activity for their downtime.

I was done before the other kids since kindergarten too. In K, we were able to get a quiet activity like the clay or playing with the kitchen while we waited.
In 1st grade there was a set of folders with activities. Funny how I remember more about these extra activities than with the regular work! I also remember being allowed to read my own books while waiting in several grades. I especially remember 5th grade. In 6th grade, there were science cards with tapes you were able to listen to. I got a lot out of that extra work.

I think it is asking too much for 5 and 6 year olds to entertain themselves when they are finished with their work. I understand that some kids need extra attention and this will take longer than for some kids to finish the work. (I have one) I am grateful for a teacher that will take that time but she still needs to fullfil the needs of ALL her students. That means challenging and stimulating the smart ones as well.

Suz said...

I don't know about my kids, but my husband was saved, saved by one teacher who recognized that the kid who sat in the back of the class, made jokes and never did his homework or read the books, but got A's on every test, was brilliant, but bored as all get out. My husband was loud. He acted out. He hung out in the smoking court and skipped school. It was sort of classic, in a way, and almost easier to catch than the kid who just sits there quietly and learns nothing.

Jeff said...

We've learned the hard way. Our oldest is GT but our school system had no way to accommodate him so he is failing miserably in high school right now. He'll be lucky if he gets into our state college and yet his IQ is genius. Now the district is putting programs in place but for us it's too little too late. I could give detailed behavior patterns about the way he struggled/struggles but in a nutshell he was never so much bored as incapable of doing rote homework. Our only hope now is to figure out a way for colleges to see through his past and accept him through a different mechanism.

Oy, can you tell you hit a relative topic with me?

Mary G said...

I haven't time to do my usual read of your wise commenters and so I may be repeating.

In my experience (teacher, mother of bright kids, grandparent) all kids are bored at some time or another. Least likely, the kids who like order and routine. Most likely, what I call the omnivore mind. Such kids are bright through to gifted/talented, curious, into everything, have lots of physical energy.

There is only so much a teacher or school can do -- the only way to manage large classes is to teach to the centre or lower and give the slowies extra help. The fast finishers are ignored unless they act out. Sad, but a fact of life. I used to send my omnivores to the library but they were highschool age. And older kids can be given independent assignments or asked to help others. However, I would have to observe that your school sounds as if it hasn't given a lot of thought to challenging the omnivores.

I was such a kid and one of my girls was one also. I used to get in constant trouble for daydreaming. My daughter got in trouble for figetting and not concentrating. Her grade 5 teacher actually dug an Agatha Christie out of her purse and gave it to her to keep her anchored.

Another of my solutions as a parent was to volunteer to do extra activities. I taught a class in developing black and white film, for example. And took kids out of class for reading help. Etc.

My solution as a schoolchild was to take books to school and read sureptitiously. Did this with my daughter also.

Comment co-opt. Sorry.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Good luck dealing with the unbloggable portion that has you angry.

Yolanda said...

I had too much to say on this, I guess. i wound up posting a long tale on my blog in response:

Space Mom said...

My Soleil doesn't get bored. However, her kindergarten class is teaching her at her level. She is reading now, a skill she was dabbling with in September and for the past 3 years. She is suddenly doing multiplication on the fly without realizing it.

Perhaps it is our district. Perhaps they have found a good medium for working with kids of differing abilities.

I am not sure if S is G&T. I can't tell.
But I do know that she will ask and push and not leave the answer at "just finish up this"

Lawyer Mama said...

"Gifted and talented kids don't get bored." No offense to your friend, but that's ridiculous.

Obviously I don't have kids at that point yet, but I was in G&T and yes, frequently bored in school. I know it's a problem because teachers can only do so much and teach at so many levels.

I had several teachers who would let us read quietly at our desks if we finished our work and that was great for me. But probably a bit much to ask of a 6 year old.

Daisy said...

" gives a good lesson not only about respecting others, but about respecting ourselves, too." Absolutely. Research has shown that the students most likely to be neglected are the quiet, gifted, girls. Your bright child needs to respect others, but I'm actually glad to hear she's speaking and acting out a little. She won't be neglected in her schooling.

Ali said...

My Seb has just completed 7 years of schooling. He spent 10 weeks of that schooling in a G&T class and nominates that as the most boring 10 weeks of his schooling! The teacher of this class wanted conformity and her version of beautiful work. She did not appreciate it if my son knew more than her on a subject and corrected her (he's a quiet boy and did this politely) and used her power as a teacher in a harmful way.
This teacher did nothing to engage my son. We had him moved to a class with a teacher than many thought of as a little odd. My son loved, loved, loved him. He engaged the children in everything. My son came home from school bubbling with interest and possibility. This teacher is gifted but not recognised as such because he simply doesn't care about how his CV looks and how conformist his class is (it's not!).

I have a great wariness of the G&T label, but like others I think it's worthy of a much lengthier treatment.

My children have both used 'waiting' time in class to help those with learning difficulties. This has been initiated by the teachers and has been good for both my children, and for both children this began in their first year of schooling at age 5.

Ali - who is paying for private schooling for Year 7 (age 12) to Year 12 (age 18).

Gunfighter said...

Hi Julie,

I am of the opinion that most kids labeled "gifted" are simply smart. Unless a child is writing symphonies, or is a four language polyglot at age three, s/he is smart... and smart is enough. Being smart doesn't make you special... it means that you are smart.

All kids can get bored, test scores and other crap like that (yes, test scores are usually crap at the early stages... virtually worthless) mean nothing when it comes to boredom.

Could the issue be that the work or lessons are tedious? Smart or not-as-smart makes no difference here... even Stephen Hawking could get bored with a boring teacher.

I wouldn't put too much into the "I'm bored" business. What kid doesn't get bored?