Before I knew my son was gifted, I didn't think much about gifted education. I acknowledged that sure, gifted kids should be challenged and educated at their ability level, but as far as advocating for that...meh. My professional interests lay in special education, on the other end of the bell curve. My students can't talk, or tie their shoes, or cross the street safely. They need help. Ultimately, wouldn't the smart kids be fine?
I'm starting to realize that the smart kids won't be fine, at least not if their experience is like my son's.
Think back to the last truly boring meeting you had at work. The last boring, mind-numbing meeting. Remember how you felt? Were you frustrated? Even angry?
What if you had to go to that meeting all day, every day?
That is what school is like for my son.
Here's what "gifted" looks like at my house:
It's kid who says he's sick every single morning before school. At first he was just feigning sick, but after awhile he was genuinely feeling ill with anxiety.
It's a kid who cries on Sunday nights at the daunting thought of having another five days at school.
It's a kid who has no close friends because none of his interests overlap with kids his age.
It's a kid whose emotions are so strong that he sometimes gets swept up and acts out, and at the time he's feeling the most vulnerable and out of control, all his teachers do is punish, yell, or send him into the coatroom.
It's a kid who is chosen last. Always. For everything.
It's a kid who can't show his best abilities because he can't do his work exactly like his teacher says.
It's feeling my stomach sink whenever my phone at work rings because I'm afraid it's his principal calling again.
It's analyzing every single communication I have with the school because, at this point, things are so contentious that I hesitate to email or call for something as benign as birthday treats or asking if the nurse can give medication.
It's clocking more hours sitting in meetings with my kid's principal than in meetings with my own school administrators.
It's my kid spending one session with a Gifted & Talented itinerant teacher, and suddenly he's skipping off to school eagerly looking forward to their next session.
I hate it and it's unfair. And suddenly, I'm much more in favor of gifted education than I ever was.