I was not a good grade school student. It was hard for me to follow a classroom lesson. I was always distracted and lost in my own world. My teachers didn’t “get” me.
Thus, whenever I was called upon to answer serious questions in class, I would suffer a minor brain seizure then announce clearly that I had to go pee.
“Slow” was the word they used on kids like us. If you weren’t sharp, you were slow. Which meant you were, more or less, as bright as a box of mud. I once overheard a teacher tell another teacher I was slow. She meant no harm. Which only made it worse.
But it didn’t matter. Once this word is attached to you it’s all over. After this, all you want in life is to feel un-stupid. You would do almost anything to prove that you are un-stupid.
Don’t misunderstand me, all my teachers weren’t like this. One of my school teachers actually understood me. She came up with an idea to help me learn.
I came to school one morning and my desk was outfitted with crayons and paper.
She said, “I want you to color pictures during my lesson. I don’t want you looking at me, and I DEFINITELY don’t want you paying attention.”
This felt like a trick. But I followed her advice. And when her lesson finished, she called me to her desk to ask questions related to her lesson.
To my own amazement I COULD ANSWER HER QUESTIONS! I had somehow paid attention to every word she said while coloring.
It was a miracle. I was pronounced to be un-stupid. I made perfect grades all year.
But it was short lived. By fifth grade, I was back to being a mouth breather again. I had a teacher who didn’t like me. She ended up putting me in the remedial class with a few other kids.…