Academic journal article English Journal

Talented and Depicted

Academic journal article English Journal

Talented and Depicted

Article excerpt

Talented and Gifted: Time Will Tell

"Why do you leave every day before math?" asked Steve. It was the end of second-grade recess and as we lined up two by two, he was my partner for the day.

"Project Go," I shrugged.

"What's that?" he asked with skepticism.

"I don't know, we're creating countries . . ." I began.

"It's for smart kids, don't you know anything?" asked Colin, shaking his head with a look of disdain.

"Yeah, how'd you get in there?" questioned Steve.

"I, uh, I don't know. . . ." I trailed offas the rest of the class moved forward.

It was the truth. I still don't know how I ended up in the talented and gifted program, but as soon as I figured out it was for smart kids, I started to worry I didn't belong. I wasn't sure how I'd obtained such a label. Perhaps it was because of my constant motion and endless curiosity, but in the past they had only served as a means of trouble.

Like the first day of first grade when I decided to check out the mailboxes during silent reading, or the time in kindergarten when I poured chocolate milk over Tiffany Whatsername's head. There were too many incidents to mention; suffice it to say I was a constant tremor in the classroom. I was always into something, that is, until I was completely over it, which was usually only a couple of seconds later. Within the confines of an otherwise quiet classroom, my behavior was problematic.

Throughout first grade Mrs. Carlson came face to face with my curiosity, the subsequent boredom, and resulting trouble. Somehow she was able to focus these traits into improved reading, spelling, and science skills. Perhaps she thought she spotted something deeper, perhaps she was trying to save the second-grade teachers from my impending doom. Either way, before the end of first grade I was recommended for, tested, and deemed talented and gifted.

On the first day of second grade Mrs. Brown told me I was to leave the classroom every day at 9:45 for Project Go, the talented and gifted program. My mind raced. Project Go? What's that? Where do we go? Wait, when is 9:45?

Undoubtedly, I had been a million miles away on the days we learned to tell time, but in first grade someone had always told me when to go where. I imagined second grade would be pretty much the same, until I was told I'd need to pay attention and leave when necessary. No problem, I thought. I'll just wait for the others to get up and go.

So, 9:45 came and went, unbeknownst to me, and at 10:00 Mrs. Brown reminded me that I was to head down the hall, by myself. No other second graders would be "going." I bumbled down the hallway, stopping for a drink, a look into the teacher's lounge, and a covert mission to check out the first-grade recess equipment. By the time I entered the windowless closet that was Project Go, it was long past 9:45.

"When do we go?" I asked the third graders.

"We have music at 10:30," one of them replied. Like I had any idea what that meant!

"No, I mean, when do we go. This is Project Go, right?"

As it would happen, Project Go didn't actually meet my expectations; it came to mean that I would leave my peers to go to a windowless closet with third graders. There we were assigned various topics, given guidelines, and then provided time to work on these projects. Had I understood that being a part of this program was an honor, perhaps I would have appreciated it more, but it was a hassle to leave class. My peers wondered where I went and how I got into Project Go. I didn't have a clue, but I had a sneaking suspicion that being a part of this program meant you were supposed to be smart and I wasn't sure I was. I couldn't even tell time!

A series of trial and error experiments followed. I discovered that 9:45 usually happened after journals and reading. As reading wrapped up, I would clear my desk and plod out the door. Unfortunately, reading didn't always follow journals; sometimes it came first. …

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