Many people assume intellectually gifted kids have an easy time in school. They can write, read, and do math multiple grades above their own. They grasp complex concepts faster than most of their classmates. However, it’s not easy to be intellectually gifted, and many intellectually gifted kids have a tough time in school.
1. They are bored most of the time.
The work the teacher gives them takes 10 minutes, so what do they do for the next 20 minutes while they wait for everyone else to finish? Draw? Daydream? They can’t chat to their friends because they’re still working. They ask the teacher for more work, but they don’t have any. They might’ve even faked being sick multiple times to escape the boredom of class.
2. Most schools cater to the lowest common denominator.
It’s very rare that teachers will push young kids to achieve more than they’re supposed to at their age. Eight-year-olds will be taught things eight-year-olds should know, so what happens when you’re eight but have the intellect of a twelve-year-old? Teachers don’t bring extra work to class for the students they know can easily do the work they give out.
3. They might end up being the teacher instead of the student.
Sometimes, when teachers don’t know what to do with you, you might end up becoming a teacher’s assistant. In second grade, whenever I finished my work early I was told to go and help a boy in my class who had severe brain damage. Helping a struggling classmate from time to time is one thing; becoming an unpaid teacher’s assistant is another.
4. If their talents aren’t nurtured, their full potential can never be reached.
Intellectually students sometimes never reach their full potential because of teachers holding them back academically. They won’t give them harder work; they’ll make them wait until everyone else has finished until they can continue with the next assignment. It’s frustrating for them to think about what might have been if they’d been allowed to work at a higher level.
5. Other kids might envy them and perhaps bully them.
Having kids envy you is fine—everyone is envious of someone. Being bullied for being naturally smart is ridiculous. Most intellectually gifted kids aren’t rubbing their intellect in anyone’s face; all they want is to be allowed to achieve what they’re capable of.