Teachers often have multiple classes and deal with hundreds of students a term. You would think they'd all start to run together at some point, but certain students do stick out.
After Redditor DrPhilsHair asked the online community, "Teachers of Reddit, when did you realize a student was gifted?" teachers, others working in education, and even other students, recalled their most striking students and classmates with smiles on their faces.
"I basically had to do entirely separate lesson plans for this kid..."
We took standardized tests like the second week of school. Hadn't really done much academics yet as it was Elementary school (grade 5) and most of what we'd done was routines and introductions/games.
Kid scored at a 10th grade level in math and 9th grade in reading. Ok. Whatever, impressive but not unheard of. Except this kid was at the WORST school in the state. Literally. Ranked dead last. His whole schooling career. Nobody else in my class scored above a 6th grade level in anything and most were 3/4 grade level.
I basically had to do entirely separate lesson plans for this kid. While the rest of my class did multiplication facts, I had a coding curriculum and was teaching him basic languages. He had his own reading group in addition to the high reading group. It was even more incredible, because he'd always been in trouble and in the principals office the years before. I sent him to ISS once. All year. (Really low for that school, kids on other classes went literally daily, I had a few go once a week).
I begged his mom to switch him out of that school track, said I'd fill out any paperwork, write any letters. It was my only year as a teacher, not sure what happened to him. Mom never contacted me. He finished the year by shattering all of his records on testing exams. Literally the .01% on his tests. He's legitimately one of the smartest kids I'd ever met, from the poorest school with the worst conditions I've ever seen.
"After less than one year..."
After less than one year of music lessons, it was clear the student would likely become a concert pianist when he learned 15 of Bach's Two-Part Inventions from memory - and played them brilliantly!
"This kid was always bright..."
This kid was always bright but never really inspired by much of what he did. Seemed a little lazy but wasn't troublesome he was just kind of a neutral kid in the class. The we did one day of Lewis Structures and he thought it was 'too easy'. Gave him a harder worksheet which he finished in like 3 seconds. So I gave him an organic formula that had 12 different isomers and some resonance structures. He came up with all of them in less than 15 minutes including ones that had to do with how the object would look in 3D even though we never covered it.
Kid is currently working on his PhD at Yale in Organic Chemistry.
"I knew when he surprised me..."
I knew when he surprised me by reassembling an engine out of a car all by himself in a single 90 minute class period. It was right before school let out for Covid. I had to hurry up and get some projects thrown back together quickly since school was closing. He asked to do it so I let him try and went off to do other things. By the end of the class it was completely assembled! Never asked me for help and it was "working" Definitely gifted!
"One day we were having a class discussion..."
Biology teacher here.. had a new student come in at age 15. He didn't talk much but he did all his work as asked and did it well. One day we were having a class discussion about something and he joined in. It ended up being a back and forth between just the two of us and at some point I realised I was discussing pretty high level stuff with a 15 year old. He's a neurosurgeon now.
It started off as a talk about the ethics of human cloning and genetic engineering. We ended up getting into the detail of the mechanics of it. He was asking questions, understanding the answers and immediately seeing the repercussions and elaborating on his opinions. It was a great experience.
"I moved him from regular English..."
Foreign exchange student from China in the 8th grade. His writing abilities far exceeded the majority of even the accelerated class.
I moved him from regular English to accelerated and not only was his writing strong, his insights were so deep and thoughtful. At the end of the year, I learned not only was he a top student in my class, he won student of the year in Spanish as well.
"Next she tried..."
Not a teacher, but a student with a gifted kid in his class. In third grade we had a new student come in who had just moved to the country with his family. Our teacher saw he was smart, she she challenged him with some math we were meant to learn in a couple weeks. He solved the problems no problem.
Next she tried some 4th grade level math, again he solved it with no problems. After that she called in one of the 5th grade teacher and she gave him some problems meant for 5th graders. As expected he solved those without any problems. They kept going until he got a question partially right. I believe but that point they were giving him stuff intended for early/mid-year 6th grade students.
Last I heard this kid got a degree in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University.
"I was teaching distance..."
I was teaching distance over time graphs. The student stated that if the line just went straight up that it would indicate teleportation because distance has been gained but no time has passed. This was 5th grade science.
"Took a summer job..."
Took a summer job helping at a daycare. One of the toddlers (about 18 months old) was way ahead of the rest. Could talk full sentences, knew his abc's, could count beyond 20. Already had shapes and colors down. I've seen kindergarten aged kids that haven't mastered some of these things.
He's in his early 20s now with a masters in engineering and a six figure salary.
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