“Are you really enjoying being here on Gifted Island?” Sprite asked me.
It felt like a trick question. It reminded me of a time I was trudging along a hot, dusty country road toward the fun I had promised at the playground, with a three year old and a baby in the pusher. Three year old asked in a very serious tone of voice “Are we having fun yet, Mummy?”
I did not want Sprite to think that I was not enjoying the experience of Survivor Gifted Island because then she would feel guilty that she had arranged it.
But I did not want to give the impression that I was ecstatically happy either; because we had often talked about the value of being direct and truthful with each other. In that way we could build a large reliable deposit in the truth bank and would be worthy of being believed when it really, really mattered.
I was tempted to answer “It’s like the curate’s egg – it is good in patches!”
But I did not want to have to explain the joke.
Then I wondered whether Sprite was wishing that she had not signed us up for Gifted Island and was hoping for my unhappiness as an excuse to leave.
So I gave her a flowery spiel about finding value and things to enjoy and learn in all experiences. I probably sounded a bit like a Pollyanna clone. But it convinced Sprite.
“Oh!” said Sprite “Oh! Well then I think I will be too sick to do any activities tomorrow”
And then I realised what the problem was.
In the handouts from the producers of the Survivor – Gifted Island game we were told that participation in the program would not exempt the students from the regular national and international academic benchmark testing.
“I thought NAPLAN was scheduling time to have a snooze in your hammock” said Sprite “But it isn’t! It is testing and tomorrow the inspector, Mr TIMSS is going to come and take the students to PISA to dive for PIRLS for more testing.”
Naturally Sprite was very anxious about the prospect.
One of the characteristics on Dr Linda Silverman’s Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities list was
* performs poorly on timed tests
Testing was one of the times that the De Bono pink slippers could sometimes be produced.
As a 2E student Sprite would sometimes be given concessions such as extra writing time or use of a scribe or the computer during tests.
But she had not been permitted to bring the pink slippers to Gifted Island.
She was forced to wear the Can Do adjustable Velcro sandals and just manage as well as possible.
And I had noticed that some of the producers of the show tended to greet any concerns or complaints with “Suck it up Princess!”
“Would you still love me if I failed the tests and they said I wasn’t gifted at all and we had to leave the island and you couldn’t stay here any longer?” she asked.
That one question illustrated so many issues that can besiege gifted and 2E students
- test performance anxiety http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18350396
- perfectionism http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/PDF_files/crucibl.pdf
- impostor syndrome http://www.impostersyndrome.com/
- and believing that others measure their worth as a person only by their achievements.
I could see it was time to go to a quiet rock pool for a long talk about how much I love her just for herself regardless of her performance.
“Of course I would still love you!” I said.