Rough brainstorms and penned outlines on loose sheets of paper clutter my desk. 
It’s all the prewriting stage for a 1200 word essay on Gifted and Talented Learners.
I’m back at BTI now, which means I am the student again, doing the work teachers tell me to do, waltzing or trudging from classroom to classroom as I listen, listen, listen. And then I write. Essays or otherwise.
Before we went out on our five week practicum, we honed in on gifted and talented learners in one of our courses. When the topic was first introduced, it was my guess that everyone was sitting at their grey desks secretly hoping they were gifted. I certainly was. And when tears suddenly sprung into my eyes when my lecturer spoke about the isolation these students feel, and what one child said after being put in an extension class for her talent: “I can speak my own language.” 
Now, I cannot claim or disclaim I was/am a gifted learner on the New Zealand primary school curriculum scales. The definitions are so vague or so broad it’s hard to pin down anyway. However, I can make the statement that I was always ahead of my class as far as writing was concerned, and from an early age, I was consistently told it was a gift. 
In my book, Renzulli tells me that gifted and talented learners have above-average ability, a high level of task commitment, and a high level of creativity together. Yet regardless of the curriculum level, we all have gifts, as the Word of God makes clear, and those gifts are for the common good of the community (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Therefore we all have a responsibility to discover our strengths, steward them well, and serve others through them.
Many experiences as a child taught me to either be so wrapped up in pride at my abilities, or to hide them from the negative attention I occasionally received from my peers. For the most sensitive spirit, those few moments were devastating. Every child wants to belong, and when you are good at something, you are no less a person. You still want to belong.
Fast forward to returning to BTI after five weeks in an intermediate school. Bam. Prac folder due. Portfolio entry due. Gifted learners essay due soon. I finally rested in the fact that we all had strengths to contribute, and if I empathized with “gifted learners” it was because of that. No more to worry about. Just get that essay done.
Those rough brainstorms and penned outlines clutter my desk.

 “…Becomes committed to and absorbed in tasks…” Um, where did two hours go and I have just been in one source? “…frequently place unrealistically high expectations on themselves…” Oh, no I don’t do that, I say as I try collect quotes from a 120-page document in an hour. Oh, and perfectionism? Not me.  I am not “having a compulsive need to achieve and be the very best…” as I tweak this word here, that word there. Edit. Delete. Copy. Paste. Command. Shift. Tweak. What am I doing?!

Therefore, it looks like the biggest lesson for me…
is to learn 
to stop.
Photo credit: David Norris. New York Public Library, January 2013. That’s me in the middle… every writer’s dream is to walk into a palace of books, especially a famous one 🙂 
P.S. I NEED TO SLEEP! (such is the tale of a writer who is learning to stop.)