How often does life reward us for being the smartest one in the room? TV trivia show prizes aside, how many things in life come to us because we know more than anyone else?
Will it assure us entrance into a good college?
Will it find us a life partner?
Will it advance our career?
No, no, and no.
The fact is, intelligence alone is almost never the measuring stick for success. Don’t get me wrong – it’s good to be smart. We need quick learners and strong thinkers in this world. But the ones who go farthest in life are those who can work with others and communicate their ideas clearly. That can be hard news for a kid who’s labeled gifted or talented, or “GT.” After all, if I define myself by my intellectual ability, where does that put me once it’s no longer such an big deal?
While it’s an adjustment, this shift in attitude is also a relief. Without the pressure to be the smartest one in a group, children can take risks and make mistakes. It also eases the feelings of competition that often surface when “GT” kids are placed together. Students can focus on creating partnerships in a learning community. As a teacher, I take the job of teaching concepts very seriously.
But life is about so much more.