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sarah HANNAH gómez @shgmclicious
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A day later & I'm still having All The Feels about @1a's episode on gifted children--feels which include resentment about the lack of real support I got as a gifted kid & how the fake support you get as a gifted kid trains you to become an underachieving adult w/ no work ethic.
This is what I have been exploring in the adult novel I have secretly been writing along with my YA, and the fact that it is a part of my life I am clearly Not Past and because it has to do with having no work ethic is probably why I haven't been able to finish it.
There are plenty of problems with the education system, and the biggest problems are without a doubt linked to policy and Republicans and charter schools and other garbage things undermining the mission and purpose of public education.
And funding and special ed and deprofessionalizing teaching and on and on. But to be completely selfish for a sec, yeah, gifted kids are completely fucked.
I was the "smart" kid, so I had nothing to challenge me, and I got "rewarded" either with a few difficult things, but "punished" because I still had to waste time on work that was of no value to me first.
Then when you're in college, "honors" consists of nothing but gen ed classes where they tell you, "you're smart, so no quizzes every week, just write a longer essay at the end of the semester." And voila!
All I was told from K to BA was that I was smart. I was not taught to engage with schoolwork. I was not taught to give any fucks about what class was about. I was not taught how to work hard, manage time, or learn.
I was not taught how to go about approaching a thing that I might eventually encounter and find challenging. All I learned was that if you're smart, you have to waste your time doing shit you already know how to do and otherwise sit quietly and shut up.
Or be the teacher's assistant and help the kids who were struggling, which I guess is a good way to learn patience but it is not how to get a fucking education in the subject you are supposed to be getting an education.
I can't even really be mad about that, because if states actually the fuck funded education, teachers would have real assistants, not students who had nothing better to do but go around helping their classmates learn long fucking division in sixth grade.
Being a gifted kid in the class means choosing between doing nothing after finishing your work in five minutes--or doing extra stuff without any real engagement or guidance as to its value.
I went to a shmancy private high school and got next to nothing out of it. That's because a) well funded doesn't mean innovative, interesting, or better. It just means better class sizes and textbooks that aren't falling apart, plus fewer discipline problems.
b) I had already been trained for nine years to understand that school was just rote stuff, plus a few awesome teachers who unfortunately couldn't unleash their awesome because of policy, money, time, testing companies, and whatever we had before NCLB.
c) nothing was INTERESTING. It was still the same old classic shit as in any other school, which is to say content that was heavily male, heavily white, heavily memorization- and test-based, and heavily New Crit.
d) I had been trained to know that as a gifted kid, I was just going to have to be bored, because at-risk kids and struggling kids were more important--and that "struggling" itself only means remedial or below grade level, not the literal definition of that word.
All this is to say that the education system sucks and it is like 70% policymakers' fault, but that means it's 30% on the ground people failing to serve. Plus parents. My parents are pretty awesome, but they told me I was great at everything a little too much.
So for that 30% of influence you have, teachers, please find SOMETHING to give a gifted kid that says that there is value in whatever the entire class is doing, even if it's not the literal assignment that is the challenging bit for them.
And parents AND teachers, stop telling your kid they're gifted, full stop, and qualify the term. And don't let up on assignments or say "because you're smart, you can just skip all this boring stuff and do nothing instead."
I am going around in circles now and don't know that I am offering anything of use, but my real point was to take a moment to whine about how much I was ruined by people teaching me that since I was smart, there was no work for me to do.
As a result, I still don't know what people mean by "study" for a test (like are you just reading your class notes over and over again? and making flashcards? literally no idea what that means), I barely know how to plot out time to work on things, and I find it hard to care.
Gifted kids still need to be told that there is room for improvement & that they have a benchmark they should try to reach, even if it's not the formal one set by school. I was told I was the "best" in the class at a thing, so I didn't try hard. Why should I have? I was the best.
I don't work very hard on things and I don't persist when things are difficult, and I blame being identified as "gifted" for those shortcomings.
I have so many friends and peers that I am jealous of, because I am without a doubt "smarter" and more gifted than they are, but they are more successful than I am because they fucking WORK FOR IT.
So what was being gifted worth? What I got out of that was spending a great deal of my time in K-BA bored, angry, resentful, and lazy--and being groomed to develop a superiority complex because of it.
And I am not even going to get into what it's like for gifted kids who are NOT identified as such and are either identified as "problem children," special ed, or lost causes. Nor will I get into gifted kids who don't have access to enrichment programs +
because their communities don't offer them or their parents don't know about them or their parents are working too much to take advantage of them or they are misidentified because of social factors, especially race, class, and gender.
That is a whole other thing for a whole 'nother day, because I am really just kvetching to get this off my chest. I am 29 years old, working on my fourth degree, which doesn't feel like an achievement but rather a lazy fallback, and I am +
actively avoiding working on things that I would rather be good at/successful at bc they're hard & I never learned how to break through walls. Certainly I should get past it now that I'm almost 30, but that's how hard it is to break habits that were drilled into you for 20 years.
And THAT is the story of how I just realized how late I am for an appointment and also the answer to the question many of you ask as far as why I am still not done with my novel even though I have so many started and actually do very well finishing things...
IF I HAVE A MOTHERFUCKING DEADLINE AND MANY PEOPLE BREATHING DOWN MY NECK. This is why I do better with pitch-then-write situations than writing on spec. And novels are sadly done on spec.
This is why I have accountability friends to text me and writing date friends to meet with, but still, I shoot myself in the feet all the time because I was told that I am naturally good at everything, so if I find myself blocked, I quit, because +
I am supposed to be great at Everything, according to Everyone.

Stop doing that to gifted kids. Don't tell them they're good at everything and then give them nothing to do. You're fucking them up.
I'm about to get charged a helluva lot of money if I don't get into this appointment, so brb.
Fucking FLOORED by your responses rn, friends. I'd say let's start a club where we commiserate about this stuff, but we'd all start it up & then abandon it in favor of new projects to start & abandon, because we're GIFTED & if the club doesn't work out immediately, fuhgedaboudit.
I will share this picture of a quote read about me by my AMAZING 8th grade algebra teacher, who privately taught me algebra during his pre-alg class & didn't let up when I got lazy & who pegged me even though I didn't appreciate this until YEARS later: instagram.com/p/BKyRIi1BzP5/…
I don't have a Patreon, but it was pointed out to me that this could be an article instead of free writing. I believe in free AND I believe in paying people for their work, so I am going to put this here just if you feel like it: paypal.me/mclicious
I will also say a few things for the record:
1. I went to private school on a full scholarship, and I'm not tryna say I'm not grateful, though I'm also not tryna say it was ultimately worth it.
2. My parents are teachers, which qualifies that way my giftedness was approached AND+
also speaks to my point about how gifted kids in different SES are treated/identified/supported/not supported differently based on that.
3. I don't think getting a PhD is an easy thing or marks a person as a failure, but it was definitely a safe and thus unchallenging (in that sense) move for me to make and that's why I often write it off.
It's not humility. It's that I love the work I'm doing but also recognize that nobody in my life is going "Hannah's getting a PhD? How new and different for her! Look at her stepping out of her comfort zone!"
4. I am not studying education or pedagogy, but my PhD program that I am doing in literature is housed in a college of education, so I have limited but some experience in learning about pedagogy and education policy in my coursework.
I hope that clarifies/qualifies some things.
My new hypothesis is that Ashlee Simpson was a gifted kid because I am listening to AUTOBIOGRAPHY and it is still a masterpiece of an album and also clearly has the subtitle SCADS OF CHIPS ON ONE'S SHOULDER.
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