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Nov. 5th, 2006 | 09:14 pm
location: Roxor
mood: weirdweird
music: Anthony Rother - Destroy Him My Robots

I was a gifted student, and my worst problem was probably that I never gained the ability to create the will to do something unless it was "fun", where "fun" has some personal, arbitrary definition I'm *still* unsure of at 34. But I didn't mind elementary school -- I could let my mind wander and amuse myself however I liked until called upon, at which time all I had to do was glance at the instructions or retrieve the last words I had heard (but not heard) and piece together a convincing (and often correct) answer.

And this sort of thing, at least at first, is not a willful deception -- it's just a kid trying his best to meet the expectations of others. I made it most of the way through first grade without anyone detecting my severe (literal) nearsightedness. I didn't know there was anything wrong with my eyes; I just knew people expected me to know things I didn't -- the things written on the chalkboard, which I couldn't see at all. I guess we start life assuming that the expectations of the authority figures around us are reasonable, and we try to work with that. But I was beginning to think that teachers were just crazy people. Silly teacher, writing things and drawing diagrams way over there that no one could possibly see. I just sighed and tried to humor the crazy people. Eventually I got caught out when I got up to sharpen my pencil (and glance at the chalkboard) one too many times. They got me glasses the next day, these awkward thick plastic things that made everything look sharper than it really was.

It's hard to learn to commit time to a project when for years you've been able to do your homework from the previous day in the first few minutes of class before the teacher collects it. So there's a very rude awakening whenever the kid hits a grade level where the work gets hard enough to actually require a time investment.

I think I finally gave up around late middle school; seventh or eighth grade. At that point, I learned the very dangerous lesson that you could procrastinate until the last minute and... then just *not* do it, and nothing really terrible would happen. I used my talents just enough to keep from being griped at. In high school, I used sleep deprivation as a mind-altering cure for the drudgery, and learned how to prop up a book just enough that you couldn't tell I was asleep sitting up, rather than intently studying. If called upon by the teacher, the startled rush of adrenaline and a quick scrambling through the few seconds of short-term auditory memory would allow me to put together the answer, or at least a convincing attempt at one.

cross-posted from another thread

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Comments {5}

Kaiball: The Chronomorphic Psyclown

(no subject)

from: kaiball
date: Nov. 6th, 2006 05:58 am (UTC)

Cross posted? Sheeeeet. Outside of the glasses thing, which I got early, I could have written this too.

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(no subject)

from: auralchick
date: Nov. 6th, 2006 04:15 pm (UTC)

I always thought the greatest failing of our educational system was that it taught our best and brightest how to do just enough to get by. Imagine if all of the country's "bright kids" did their best all of the time, or even most of the time, where would we be?

And really the solution is simple: promote students until they find the work challenging. But teachers are so worried about kids fitting in socially that they don't want to do that. As if those kids fit in all that well at their own grade level.

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(no subject)

from: incysor
date: Nov. 6th, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC)

I didn't have the glasses issue, but other than that this summed up my school experience pretty well.


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Nathaniel Eliot

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from: temujin9
date: Nov. 9th, 2006 03:35 am (UTC)

So much sympathy on that . . .

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(no subject)

from: fulguritus
date: Nov. 12th, 2006 05:18 am (UTC)

I guess we start life assuming that the expectations of the authority figures around us are reasonable, and we try to work with that.

I remember when that one was cured. 2nd grade. The nun tried to convince me that I couldn't actually understand the Trinity. Um...yeah.
Anyway, I realized then that not only do adults not understand everything, but that sometimes children can understand more. And what's more- that the Church was crazy if that's really what they thought. It's really not that hard to understand. But my brain is of the malleable type.(Could also be called coocoo. But we'll stick with malleable.)

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