Last week I wrote about some characteristics of Gifted children. I shared the Neihart and Betts information. One aspect of that is starting to become more and more evident in one of my classes. That aspect is this: The Underground.
Type 3: The Underground
These students hide their giftedness. Most of the time, in middle school these students are females. By high school some males fall into this category because of the pressure to pursue sports. By in large this group is female who hide their gifts and talents to fit in with the non-gifted crowd. These girls are anxious and insecure. They begin this change in middle school, and pushing these students can make them abandon their talents and gifts even more.
What makes these students so complicated is the fact they have gifts and talents, and they purposely choose to ignore those just to fit in. They change who they are to be something they are not.
I have a class that mainly made of up of girls. They are a vibrant, creative, and a talkative group. This group works well together, and at times goes they go through their own struggles like all students do. What makes me sad about this group is that it is getting smaller. It started out with a mixed group of students around 10 in number. It has shrunk to a small group of four girls. As we were talking this morning, my students were telling me they missed the few other girls that have left the Enrichment class. They left class for a variety of reasons, but for the most part they left because they want to fit in with their other friends.
What makes me sad is the fact that our school district has brilliant, gifted, and motivated girls who would fore go the development of their gifts and talents and settle in to mundane school life just to fit in. I wish I could bring these girls to the realization that it isn’t others who bring you self-worth or identity. It is themselves. It pains me to think about these girls and the decisions they are making when it comes to choosing socializing than to ultimate success not only in school, but in the future. My heart is truly broken.
One of the most frustrating aspects of this pain that I have for these girls is the fact I don’t know how to change it. As a teacher I talk to them and encourage them, but I don’t think it goes anywhere. I wish that I could show them the mistake they are making like the ghosts show Ebenezer Scrooge his life in the past, present, and future. I am not saying that being in my class is the answer. What I am saying is these girls need to shown that they are a huge asset to their family, school, and community. They have so much potential to do some amazing things in the future, and they are throwing it away. Even as I write this I get that heavy lump in my throat. I want them to see themselves like other teachers along with myself see them.
What do you do to reach these girls who hide themselves to fit in? I saw the quote above from a really good Facebook Page called My Gifted Girl. It is a wonderful place to go to read about what gifted girls are doing. I have suggested this website to my girls in hope that they understand that they shouldn’t give up on their gifts and talents.
What do you suggest how to reach these talented girls?