What is the brutal truth of being the smartest kid in the classroom?
One thing you don't want to be in a kid setting is "different." Kids are tribal, and in most tribal languages in the world, the word for "stranger" and "enemy" were and are the same. Poking your head up above the crowd is a risk, because it makes you "different-" a stranger.
I don't think it's necessarily a matter of jealousy, as much as a visceral reaction to having someone in your midst who is perceivable as being from another tribe. If it looks like he's going to stick around, the instinctive reaction is to see if he'll be any good to you: if he shares your attitude and is willing to adapt to your customs and language,and will be strong in the hunt. If he doesn't pass muster in these areas, the instinct is to drive him out.
The smart kid sticks out.
He (or she) is interested in class, reads the books, does the homework, gets good grades and gets along well with the teacher. Not only is he "different," he most resembles a member of the enemy tribe: the adults. When confronted, he uses reason, and you can't understand half of what he says. He avoids conflict, and thus appears, to the tribal eye, to be a coward and useless. He is alone, only a marginal part of he adult tribe, and not "one of us." He is the juiciest of prey: a powerless adult.
The only hope the smart(est) kid has, is to find or assemble a tribe of his own, other smart kids and strangers, and to become physically competent enough to discourage aggressors. This will keep both him and his tribe safe until graduation, enabling them to, as it were, "float above the crowd": a rhinoceros in the midst of lions, a noncombatant.
I'm deliberately avoiding "bullying" language here, because the underlying situation is that schools are a throwback environment: a savage, primitive society populated by people who have not had either the time or the teaching to rise above their primitive instincts.
It's a world of predators and prey, of alphas and betas and drones. You can't reason with a hungry predator or talk a seeker after alpha status out of proving himself against you. A smart kid, particularly the smartest kid, sticks out, and has obvious ability. Sooner or later he will be challenged on everyone's common ground: physical ability. If he walks away he will be a drone, someone the tribe has permission to abuse at will. If he fights and loses, he'll at least be a beta, and left alone.
When I was in high school, there was a positively brilliant kid: quiet, respectful, cordial, a really nice, likeable guy. He was also exceedingly strong, so he was left alone.
My advice to parents would be to enroll your child at an early age in the Gracie Academy "Bullyproof" program:
Question: "What is the brutal truth of being the smartest kid in the classroom?"
Today I was asked, "Are you one of those people who, when they get a 99.9% on a test, they ask to retake it?"
Yes, I am.
I'm a student who strives for a 4.0 GPA (an A in every single class). Every assignment is completed to the best of my ability and I never slack off in class. I get full marks on tests, and I spend my afternoons studying. After taking an AP test last year, everyone told me they already knew my score: a 5/5. (They were right.)
Some people may read that and say it is my parent's fault for expecting perfection out of me. They would be wrong, since my parents haven't cared about my grades since elementary (primary) school. I strive for a 4.0 because I know I can accomplish that and I shouldn't settle for less.
My personal drive for perfection has given me serious anxiety. I do my assignments multiple times to get a perfect score, retake tests, and worry endlessly if I failed a test, or if I did enough to get full marks. When the teacher says an assignment can be finished in the class period, that never happens. I take it home and finish in a way that's above and beyond.
There have been several times when I cry from the stress. I don't always have time to get assignments done and also go to bed at a reasonable time. Or I don't have time to do other things I love. I work very hard for every A I get. Those who think A's come easily, without effort, are wrong, even for those naturally smart. It takes work no matter what.
Since I accompany a show choir, I'm performing in front of a crowd (the class) every day. I berate myself when I feel that I'm not progressing, or not putting in enough work to be ready by whatever concert or rehearsal. I don't have a piano teacher, (I never have) it's hard to see what I can do to improve what I need to more quickly.
Also, I have practically no social life outside of school, but I'm more of a shy person anyway.
However, I do find a balance. It's been hard, but I accept that I'm not perfect and not every assignment or test needs to be redone to get the perfect 100%. I know how to prioritize so that I can have a break from homework, studying or piano occasionally. My friends are extremely supportive and help me however they can. The biggest thing is that I know what my limits are. I know when to ask for help.
Also, I'd like to note that not everything listed above happens on a daily basis. I work hard, but the pressure ebbs and flows. Some days are always less stressful than others and vice versa.
All through school (age 4–16) I was one of, if not the, smartest kids in the school. When we got our GCSE results, I got the 2nd highest in the school. But none of that mattered. I didn't have to work for those grades, I didn't get stressed over revision because I found it so easy. I got A* in English Language and Literature without reading the books the exams were on. I got A* in Bio, Chem and Physics without really trying because it seemed so easy.
Then I went to college and everything changed. All of a sudden I had to put more effort in. My method of revision I and used in high school was moot. There was so much information and things we'd learnt in science in school was actually dumbed down so much and I had to relearn it in the 'correct way'.
In the end, I left college with BCD (after getting 6A* and 2A at GCSE) which was nowhere near what I needed for university. Luckily I'd already decided to take a gap year so had time to re-evaluate. I have just enough UCAS points to get in, barely. I'm about to send my UCAS application off and don't know if I'll be accepted. I've gone from having no worries and being really chilled out doing GCSE to being depressed and anxious because suddenly I feel like I don't understand anything.
Typically, the concepts I struggled with 6 months ago (such as the Calvin Cycle in biology) I now understand. Too little, too late but at least I know I'm not completely stupid. Which is what I felt. I felt stupid and fraudulent. How could I have breezed through life so easily to be so rudely awakened when I got to college? Those two years at college were hell.
Okay so i've never studied in school and i always had the best grades and all my friends used to hate me for "lying" and saying that i didn't study anything and then getting full marks.
When i got to highschool, everything changed. I knew that i had to start studying but i didn't know how to organize my time. I had good marks, but not the best in class. I wanted to be the best, heck i was all my life the first one on my class, to suddenly not be! It really broke me! But then, i stopped believing in myself. Stopped believing that i could learn how to organize my studying and social life.
I wasn't the special kid in class anymore. And with all that, i was still accused of studying a lot and no one beleived that what i got was without studying.
Now i'm a senior. Still accused of studying a lot and still not studying. I wanted to have higher GPA to get better scholarships but what was done is done. Today i'm willing to change that. I'm willing to change my life and show them what would happen if i really studied.
P.S: there's a girl that used to go to the same school as mine and that used to hate me because she studied a lot and still couldn't beat me. She's in my class this year. Being a topper and getting all mighty because i'm not being treated and respected the same way i was before. She's studying so hard! She finished the program even before school started. After every exam she says that she has solved it before and would tell the others where the teacher got the exam from. If you ask her about something they studied last year, she'd tell you the number of the page and which paragraph it was. She's killing me!
When we take a closer look at the smartest kid we note, usually, their parents have stolen a March by taking them well before hand to Maths, reading, art, dance, music etc private classes. So when the so called smart kid arrives in class he or she has already done the problems the other kids are about to be taught. Simply getting ahead doesn't deserve the label smart kid nor talented kid. In my classes if you stole a march I would proceed as normal to teach my class ignoring the so called smart kid or give them other things to do but they certainly would not get further privileges with the so called talented child funding. Good luck to you for being ahead but please do not expect me as a teacher to be dragged into believing that parrot like learning is in fact education. For example repetitive learning, repetitive maths, problems is not education it is used as a vehicle to stream and sort students. Show me where in the past these kids have really amounted to anything in society except becoming judges who jail indigenous people, or show me where a professor of English has written a great novel. Agatha Christie wrote of herself that she was known as the slow one at school, Emile Zola couldn't write his own name until he was 7-8 years old, Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald were terrible spellers. Many other great scientists were bad at maths etc. So the brutal truth is that the smartest kid in the class is probably not destined to greatness because there are multiple factors that need to come together for greatness and I'm sorry to say being a parrot isn't one of them. This isn't an attack upon the kid but a criticism of those middle class obsessive parents and the teachers who are taken in by it. Are there occasional variants of this, there are, but the above holds up most of the time. Is this the brutal truth? It sure is. Many on quora will not be happy with this answer but you did ask for the brutal truth. We want everyone to catch the wave not just a few kids.
I wish I had an answer to that. But I guess at very young age being smartest is like having a hell of a party. And all you can say to that is why didn't we do better when we had the chance. I had it diffecult up through time. So I did not realize my genius until I started in high school. Well I had one A in history class about ww2 back in pre school. But i didn't think much about that grade for being smartest. But hey A is an A and you can't do better than that. So Im just glad i followed. So I could shine in high school. I started to have it really good going and I had top grades very easy. So my genius didn't show of until I was 16. But then it was all fantastic. I just dominated my mind, life and reality. And I wasn't a school nerd. I just knew that good was very good enough so I didn't do homework once and I got A's. But even though I became a junkie polymath. Not a straight polymath. Then I would have been and become far greater than what I became. But being polymath that easy is just jikes. I must be a damn badass genius to achieve so great greatness that I have done. And life just spins on very fast and you have to keep it going until you are nothing. Just a used up guy with no meaning and sense and so on. One could easily be falling off and out and gone. Because the game is lost anyway. But sometimes there are no easy ways out. You must hold on and do good for the better. Because theres nothing to give up. You can't you must go on. I gave up a few years in my twenties. And that became hard as hell to get out of. My path were broken. But I at least tried to meditate. And from which i succeeded. I found the answers, truths and rights. So I was at least living righteous. Which I had great success with later on. When I reached nirvana. But I had not been kind to myself so i had to pay that. But im a living proof you do not need to follow dharma to reach the highest state of mind. I am no monk and I never be that either. But I am enlighted now. Aware and awake. Ready to give all i can give to something I love and love to do. To bring humanity to that point where it finds itself. And don't have to look for more. Because it is not about more. It's about having enough. And humans have more than enough. The day we figure that out were all enlighted. Would be great. To be even. To be real. That's what's it's about. That's the truth. It wont hurt you to see that. So the more and deeper and higher you go the more you realize that the smartest in the group is the one that have enough to be right and true. It is to not be blinded by delusions which many have. But I don't know i've always been righteous and I see many that isn't. It is many times mere stupid to look at those that dosen't even know their own good. Hard to coope with such but you know better so you earn hope. And hope can be good it can be bad. It means you know what's going on to some level. And the smartest is that, they know what's going on.