I’m Bored in School

Question: I’m in middle school and am bored with my classes. I know a lot of the material already but I’m still forced to do the homework. After school I always ask teachers stuff that nobody has ever heard of. My parents don’t understand me either. They worry that my grades aren’t good enough. I’m not getting top grades but that isn’t because I haven’t mastered the material. I’m too embarrassed to tell them what’s really happening. What should I do?

Answer: Being bored in school certainly isn’t very fun, is it? Although there are lots of benefits to our current system of education, one of the big drawbacks is that students who have diverse learning needs often fall by the wayside. For example, students like yourself who have already mastered the material or who have interests that are different from the “norm” feel left out or simply bored. This is a big problem and one that you need to address quickly if you are to maximize your educational possibilities.

One of the first things you need to do is talk to your parents about what you are experiencing. I know you’re embarrassed to talk with them but you must push beyond your comfort zone and do it anyway. The reason I am encouraging this is because they’re the ones who can talk with your school and see what options are available to you. If your teachers become aware that your educational needs are not being met, then it’s possible that they can adjust their teaching style or send you to special programs, like the ones many schools have for high ability students.

It could be that you are gifted. Although there is not one specific definition for giftedness, the general one used by the National Association for Gifted Children is that, “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains.” Giftedness is frequently identified by IQ but some school districts use other criteria to measure it. Either way, this is something you and your parents may want to explore because, while being gifted is wonderful, it also brings its own challenges.

One of the problems many gifted children face is that they are not adequately challenged in school. This boredom can lead to academic underachievement (sound familiar?), early dropout or even other kinds of problems. Moreover, as gifted people comprise only 3-5% of the population, they frequently are misunderstood even by themselves. Thus, I think that some understanding about what you can do and validation about your abilities can help tremendously.

It could be that you don’t fit within the gifted label and your school may not have educational options other than what you have experienced. If that’s the case, I strongly encourage you not to give up but try your best to design the best educational experience for yourself. For example, if you have unique interests, perhaps you can incorporate them into reading and writing projects. There may also be an opportunity to join clubs or online communities with people who share your interests. The people with whom you interact may have good ideas for what kind of educational opportunities are available for you. Whatever you decide, please keep in mind that education is a gateway for wider opportunity. As such, it is important that you do well enough to get you where you want to go. Sometimes one must endure boredom or discomfort in the short term in order to reach long term goals.

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