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Giftedness is…

March 20, 2016

Giftedness.  The word conjures up ideas of students who have it easy and are at the top of the class.  It sounds wonderful.  However, as with most of life, it isn’t all great. Talking about being gifted seems elitist – as if being gifted makes one a better human being. It doesn’t. Giftedness is a difference and it changes one’s life in good ways and bad.


Giftedness is being a star pupil destined for greatness; giftedness is that idea being a false stereotype.

Giftedness is being gifted and knowing it; giftedness is educators and friends’ parents being skeptical.

Giftedness is the way you are born; giftedness is developing natural abilities into talent through nurture.

Giftedness is academics coming easy; giftedness is not learning to work hard.

Giftedness is understanding and retaining material; giftedness is not learning to study.

Giftedness is breezing through; giftedness is not learning to overcome obstacles.

Giftedness is almost always getting it the first time; giftedness is not learning to recover from failure.

Giftedness is scoring the highest; giftedness is considering anything less than perfect as failure.

Giftedness is having academic strengths; giftedness is sometimes having academic weaknesses and teachers wondering why you don’t score high in those areas.

Giftedness is usually having parents who are gifted; giftedness is often having parents who don’t understand giftedness.

Giftedness is needing an advocate; giftedness is having those advocates told they should “care about all students.”

Giftedness is parents knowing you need changes to your education; giftedness is parents nervous about asking overworked teachers for more.

Giftedness is getting schoolwork done quickly; giftedness is teachers giving you more of the same.

Giftedness is knowing the material being covered; giftedness is being told to go read in the corner during class.

Giftedness is ability at the top of the class; giftedness is scoring low because you checked out years ago.

Giftedness is being unique but wanting to fit in; giftedness is pullouts, special instruction, and comments by the teacher not letting you fit in.

Giftedness is trying to be the best in your class; giftedness is learning that being the best is only acceptable for feats on the athletic fields.

Giftedness is having a great answer; giftedness is keeping quiet in case it’s dumb.

Giftedness is scoring above grade level; giftedness is schools thinking that’s good enough.

Giftedness is growing at two to five times the rate of average students; giftedness is not being given that opportunity.

Giftedness is a strong desire to learn; giftedness is spending over half the school day “learning” what you already know.

Giftedness is wanting to see how today’s lesson relates to everything else; giftedness is the teacher trying to get class back on track.

Giftedness is belonging to an educationally unique group; giftedness is a teacher who never had training on how to teach that group.

Giftedness is other students wanting you on their project team; giftedness is them expecting you to do all the work.

Giftedness is being the smartest person in the room; giftedness is not learning intellectual humility.

Giftedness is having academic wins worth celebrating; giftedness is your parents feeling unable to talk about them.

Giftedness is being ahead in school; giftedness is talking about your struggles in advanced subjects being interpreted as “humble brags.”

Giftedness is being a girl who’s smarter; giftedness is hiding that difference to fit in.

Giftedness is learning at a faster rate; giftedness is needing to still be instructed on new material.

Giftedness is people expecting you to not have any challenges; giftedness is the possible added exceptionality of a learning disability.

Giftedness is teachers expecting you to be faster at schoolwork and tests; giftedness is that you might be a slow processor and thought not gifted.

Giftedness is people expecting you to act like an adult; giftedness is being socially and emotionally your chronological age.

Giftedness is acing high school; giftedness is failing college because it is the first time you’re challenged.

Giftedness is getting by on 25% effort; giftedness is learning the hard way employers expect 100%.

Giftedness is people believing you will achieve great things; giftedness is people confusing ability and achievement.

Giftedness is people believing in you; giftedness is doubting yourself.

Giftedness is having intellectual abilities paralleling your school’s star athletes; giftedness is not having the pep rallies, cheering crowds, or reporters covering your college signing day.

Giftedness is people thinking you are part of an elite group; giftedness is being poor, being a minority, or having a disability – and being overlooked for that reason.

Giftedness is sometimes knowing more than the teacher; giftedness is your teacher hating to be corrected.

Giftedness is usually knowing more than other students; giftedness is other students hating a know-it-all.

Giftedness is your dumb mistakes being rare; giftedness is your dumb mistakes being celebrated by others.

Giftedness is being able to help struggling students; giftedness is being assigned to mentor instead of being a student.

Giftedness is having free time during school to help the teacher; giftedness is that you could be learning instead.

Giftedness is your capacity to focus deeply; giftedness means zoning out.

Giftedness is your mind going in a million directions; giftedness is you being easily distracted.

Giftedness is your energy overflowing; giftedness is your teacher thinking you have ADHD.

Giftedness is thinking about ideas at a different level; giftedness is having no one in your class to talk to.

Giftedness is being intensely concerned about adult issues; giftedness is your classmates aren’t as interested.

Giftedness is talking and questioning like an adult; giftedness is being considered rude.

Giftedness is enjoying being quirky; giftedness is others thinking you are odd.

Giftedness is seeking out the other gifted child in your class; giftedness is next year being placed in separate classes for ‘equity’.

Giftedness is enjoying time with your tribe; giftedness is 13 years of educators trying to separate you from your tribe.

Giftedness is liking to hang out with older kids; giftedness is never seeing them because they are in different grades.

Giftedness is being intense; giftedness is few being able to tolerate your intensity for long.

Giftedness is being unique; giftedness is being lonely.

Giftedness is part of who you are; giftedness is only part of who you are.

Giftedness is a blessing; giftedness is a curse.

A special thanks to Ann Grahl of KEE Publications for editing!  KEE Publications offers writing, editing, and consulting services.

Thanks for reading Rochester SAGE.  Together we can make a difference for gifted learners!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lourdes permalink
    March 21, 2016 12:07 AM

    Every single line is true. I love the honesty and openness. May it help more people understand.

  2. Cheryl permalink
    March 22, 2016 2:42 PM

    Wow how did you know that was my entire life. I am an adult now but exactly that is what happened and wow I thought myself articulate but you just explained everything. They expect you to celebrate their success while they celebrate when you make a mistake. Then they compete with you and you are supposed to let them win…way brutal

  3. March 25, 2016 1:54 PM

    This is so wonderful. I’d like to put the entire thing on my website but I can’t locate author information. Can you tell me who wrote it and when, so I can do a proper citation?

    • March 25, 2016 2:01 PM

      Thank you!

      The author is Joshua Raymond. Please include the following: “Authored by Joshua Raymond of Rochester SAGE,” and a link to the original piece. Thanks for asking!

  4. Michele Jane Squires Rodriguez Ferrere permalink
    March 26, 2016 7:38 AM

    some of this is true, some not so much. just goes to show how individual the journey is for everyone.

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