Friday, April 16, 2010

gifted vs. motivated in education

Earlier this year I posted this note on Facebook about education in public schools:

Random thought for the day:
So, I heard an interesting snippet of conversation the other day while I was at Barnes & Noble. (I admit to eavesdropping.) It was two parents of middle school students debating what to do with their children when it comes time to send them to high school.

This is the part that caught my attention:
Parent 1: We're still trying to decide where to send Jane to high school next year.
Parent 2: If you can't send her to the Academy or Episcopal (the two best private schools in BR), you need to send her to Baton Rouge High (public magnet school). The public school gifted program is a joke - its kids are bright but unmotivated.

It really got me to thinking. Does this hold true for most of the gifted graduates? It does for me. I am bright, a creative thinker with excellent problem solving skills and almost completely unmotivated. In fact, I really like my job even though it is somewhat dead end because it is relatively stress free. (Shades of Office Space :)) Would I have been different if I had attended a school where the teachers pushed us more? Any thoughts on this?

I still don't have any real answers. My parents are very pro-education - both have college degrees from LSU and my dad has a master's from SMU in Dallas - they started reading to me when I was an infant and let me start reading to them when they realized I could. Learning has always come easy - and if I do have trouble with a subject, i just pretend like it doesn't exsist.

Would it have been different if they'd sent me to Baton Rouge High where I had to maintain a GPA to stay? At McKinley in the Gifted program, you could fail any thing and enverything and stay. If you know there aren't any real consequences for messing around, does it make a difference?

I actually failed English II because I refused to do a term paper. I retook the class the next year in regular, didn't have to do a term paper and passed with flying colors. Easier class with better grades, did I learn my lesson here? Not really. I just learned how to play the game and do the bare minimum to get by.
What could my parents and/ or teachers have done differently to get me motivated and active at school? What was your school experience like?


  1. I remember taking a regular science class...what a joke! Each week we would study a different chapter. We were given "study guides" Monday mornings and would spend all week listening to the teacher read the study guide while we filled in blanks. Our Friday tests were the study guides again where we had to fill in the exact same blanks.

  2. Sounds like Coach Hill's biology class...

  3. I decided NOT to attend the gifted high school because I wanted a "social life" so I went to the local public school. I was in almost all AP courses (refused to take AP English because I hated that teacher) and made good grades but was still pretty bored most of time, graduated in the top 10% of my class and barely cracked a book.

    Then as you know I went to HC and had to be a part of every extra curricular activity or organization I could join and again skated through classes without really being challenged. Now I look back and wish I had gone to the gifted high school and actually applied myself, because imagine where I could be by now?

    I took the GMAT last spring in order to apply for my masters program and to be honest on paper I did not get accepted. I had to call the head of the program and basically plead my case because while my GMAT wasn't bad, when paired with my undergrad GPA I was just a few points shy or admission. After speaking with the head of the program he took my case on to the Dean of the college and I was admitted, and I am now holding a 4.0 average but again don't really feel all that challenged (though since I am working full time I'm not complaining!)

    So I'm with you, I'm certainly intelligent but am also pretty lazy ;)