Articles on Education written by Donna Goodman M.A.
Who Would Have Ever Thought?
This article, "Who Would Have Ever Thought", addresses the frustrations of many educators as well as the parents of those kids who, for whatever reason, just can't seem to make school a "fit". We tend to view academic achievement as an indicator of a child's future success. Sometimes those kids are very unique individuals come along and prove us wrong.
One of the most frustrating experiences, for me as an educator, has been when I witness the struggles of a bright kid who, for whatever reason, just can't seem to make school a "fit". These kids often achieve at levels far below their apparent intellectual potential. They are the kids who frustrate us to no end because we often regard their lack of interest, as well as lack of effort, as downright disregard for their potential futures.
I recall one such student who just didn't seem to be able to do the school thing, for him it just never fit. He complained that he struggled with reading although his mother and teachers knew he was bright. They unanimously agreed it was all due to a "lack of effort" and "a lack of interest". He was a good looking tall kid with a quick wit. By the time he reached junior high he knew how to keep everyone around him laughing including his teachers, who eventually grew weary from his constant disruptions. Then came high school, and what should have been high school proms and letter jackets for this good looking kid was anything but! For him, high school became a downward spiral gravitating on toward the things that all parents fear, and further away from any hopes of academic success. Somehow school just never became a "fit" for this kid. He did manage, however, to pull it together enough to graduate, literally by the skin of his teeth waiting to rent a graduation gown until he learned of the decision, and the mercy, of the last teacher holding out on that final grade of D or F.
Well who would have ever thought that this same young man, a decade and a half later, would become the proprietor of a very successful business, earning an income which enables his wife to stay home with their two young children, indeed a rarity in our economy today. What is more, as an educator, he is what I consider to be the goal of any young person's academic pursuits and achievements, which is to become a life-long learner. As it turned out, his success in life is not merely his place in the 21st century workplace as so seems is the goal of education today. His success is that of a hard working individual, with unshakable integrity, who contributes and gives back to his community. His success is one uniquely his own as an independent thinker, an entrepreneur, and best of all a loving husband and father.
Well it sure makes this educator stand up and take notice that every child is a unique bundle of potential and when the school thing just isn't a "fit" it could just be that kid has a bigger dream than what I am offering. Oh, by the way, that kid's name was Michael and today is his birthday. Happy birthday, son, I could not be prouder of you!
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