25 May 2016
Throughout my life I have learned to take things with a grain of salt. No, a grain of salt is too big… maybe a grain of really fine cheyenne pepper. I’ve always been told that I was too short or too loud or obnoxious. Fine, whatever. But there are somethings that are too massive to be taken lightly.
I guess you guys can guess, but school just got out so I guess now I am a junior in high school, so supposedly for the last 10 years of my life I have been told that I wasn’t good enough. Now, as I said before I can take most things with a grain of cheyenne pepper, and you know, I probably could have if it was the kids in my class or even the kids that weren’t. But there is something about a whole school of teachers, telling you for 10 years that you aren’t good enough. Okay, that was an exaggeration, (it kinda stopped in high school) 8 years.
In my school district (I don’t know if they do this in other places) every child is placed with a label, (which is already pretty sketchy by itself). Your label is determined once you are placed in the school district, but can be changed throughout you school career. Now, you have to understand that I am a very obnoxious person. Not in the way where I am mean or anything, but in the way that maybe (not maybe) my voice is too loud, I can’t stop myself from blurting out the answers and I occasionally do things to get attention. Yes, I do understand that this can be very annoying and disruptive in a classroom, but it is just my personality and I have spent the last 10 years trying to contain it. I’m not mad that the teachers get annoyed by my frequent outbursts, I am distressed that they allow their personal feelings cloud their judgement. You see, in the ranking system there is different levels: below average, average, above average, gifted, and highly gifted; and the way that you get your label is supposed to be simply determined by your test scores during you elementary school years and can be changed by any teacher recommendation. The lowest score that I ever got during elementary school on a standardized test was a 99. So doesn’t it seem peculiar that I am only labeled as above average. I just want to say that I am not bragging, but I am definitely not going to take this with a grain of salt. I worked my ass off ever since I was young in school, started math clubs as recess (who even does that in kindergarten), eating lunch in the library by myself to read books on Native American tribes and Time Travel, asking the teacher for extra assignments over the summer and never once was I recognized for my hardwork. I’m not necessarily mad that I am labeled above average, I’m mostly mad for 2 other reasons:
- I’m mad that although my teachers could obviously see my handwork show through my perfect grades and test scores, none ever stepped up to say that I should be relabeled. Even though I was transferred to the hardest classes, given the most advanced books and assignments to read, praised in class when I answered hard questions correctly, none of them ever took the time to change my label and it was probably because I accidentally blurted out the things that were in my mind and when I helped the person sitting next to me with a math problem, I spoke to loudly. I can’t take a clouded judgement with a grain of salt.
- Now you may be asking: Why does this stupid label even matter? Well I will tell you, because if being mislabeled didn’t make me mad enough, the act of labeling itself is completely absurd. First off just let me say that I think that it is absolutely despicable that teachers and principals can label children like they are objects, saying that some are better than others. It may sound kind of hypocritical since I am complaining about my label, but that is what the whole institution does to children and students. It makes us feel awful about ourselves. Makes us feel like no matter what we do or how hard we work, we will never be recognized all because of a stupid label that although I know obviously isn’t an accurate measure of a students integrity, I have spent my whole life trying to change. You ask why I want to change it so badly, why does it matter so much? Not just because of how the label itself makes me feel, but what it gives to other people. Officials give some students more opportunities than others simply based off of this label. So you can say that it doesn’t matter, but it actually directly effects my education. I was denied the ability to go to certain events, I was excluded from the 7th grade ACT foundation, I am ineligible for some scholarships and am denied the ability to have a mentor. You say that this label doesn’t matter, than you probably have the one that you want. You probably were one of the students that helped to make fun of that one girl who wasn’t labeled gifted. After the other kids in my class caught wind that I wasn’t labeled gifted, they jumped right on my back. I was a perfectionist (I still am), I always had to have the best scores or grades, I always had to answer the questions and when the other students found out that I didn’t have the smartest label, they mocked me, made fun of me. Yelled at me every time I rose my hand, stuck sticky notes to my back that said “Returned” and “Ungifted”.
Maybe it doesn’t matter what your label is, but I cannot take what the label has done to me, with a grain of sand.