Originally Posted by Daffodil
I guess I was lucky, because no adult ever said or implied to me that I had greater potential than anyone else, or that I was expected to do anything special with my life. (My "gifted" status was barely discussed with me by parents and teachers. It wasn't until I was in high school that I found out I had had an IQ test, and saw the score.)
You were lucky.
I'd been told by teachers ever since I skipped a grade that I was smart and gifted. That I could do or be anything in the world, I had no limits. What good did that do me? It paralyzed me with fear. I wasn't better at any one thing, I was good at everything. I didn't know how to choose, and the people who were supposed to help me decide kept telling me to go with my talents and interests. They didn't understand that they were making things worse for me, not better.
My parents are still pissed at my teachers for how they handled things. Apparently there were numerous afterschool meetings about me within a week after I started school (explains why all the teachers, even the ones I didn't have, knew my name - I had thought they knew everyone's name!) and my parents only had one thing to say - don't tell her she's different. Don't tell her she's smarter. And yet, they did. I knew my IQ had been tested, but I never did find out the score so I told people my score was 198. I'd been told I was so smart so I figured that was a good enough guess.
I was put in an 'academically talented' program from grades 5 to 8. I had to change schools away from all my friends to do this, and I didn't want to but my parents talked me into it. I had already skipped one grade and the teachers didn't know what else to do with me. I agreed because my parents told me I could change my mind and come back to my old school after 1 year. They lied, but they were desperate and thought this program would help me.
Unfortunately, it was too late. My grade 4 teacher was a horrid shrew who would yell at slower students and hold me up as an example to them, saying I was done all my work so why weren't they? I began to learn to 'dumb down' my work and to take as much time as I could doing it. I stopped caring about grades and lost respect for my teacher and teachers in general (unfair yes, but I was only 9).
Even in the AcTal program I didn't fit in. I could do work faster and more accurately than most of the class, but I had already lost motivation. I began not doing homework assignments but still acing tests, so my grades were spotty but it didn't seem to matter. I remember arguing with my teacher in grade 5 or 6 (we had the same teacher both years, so I don't remember exactly when it was) that not everyone could have an education, because school cost money. She told me I was wrong because everyone has the right to an education, and I told her that that wasn't the same thing - that because school cost money, people who could not afford it did not have access to that same education. She greatly disliked me after that, and my opinion of her plummeted.
In an effort to motivate me, I had teachers (mine and others at the same school) as well as the principal tell me that I could do better work and I was just being lazy. That I had a lot of potential and I should use it because it was a shame to waste it. My grade 8 teacher would actually yell until his face turned red and a vein pulsed in his forehead about how I was wasting my potential and there were so many kids who aren't capable of half of what I could do but they tried so much harder and here I was lazing about. How I could do or be anything I wanted and here I was choosing not to do or be anything. By that time I had figured that there wasn't a chance in hell of them not passing me so I had stopped all classwork completely. My teacher thought maybe others in the class were distracting me (ha! I had no friends in this class, despite being stuck with the same kids for 4 years) so my desk was moved out into the hall for months. I actually liked that, but got moved back into the classroom when it was clear I wasn't doing more work when I was alone.
My high school career was filled with teachers who 'heard about me' and tried their damnedest to get me in their classes and make me motivated to do all the wonderful things I could do if I only tried. All of them failed. It's not their fault really, I did love being in some of their classes but it was just too late. I had good marks overall and graduated with more credits than needed, went on to University and promptly dropped out. Waited two years, tried going back, but dropped out again.
Yeah, that gifted label really helped me a lot