“With bad reports coming from school, and with me moaning about wanting to die and how everybody hated me, my parents began looking for help. That’s when the testing started. The school tested me, the child- guidance center tested me, private psychiatrists tested me. Everybody knew something was wrong- especially me.”
This excerpt from David Raymond, summarizes his experience with education.
It’s so sad to think that just because someone learns differently than others they are treated as if there is something wrong with them.
We, as a society, have made a mold, where students are equal, can be tested as such, and should be treated equally. If someone does not fit that mold then it must be because they’re lazy, apathetic, hormonal children and we must test them until they are average! When, in reality, we are not all the same and we’re never going to be. This kind of an attitude is why someone like David said he wanted to die because he couldn’t read. He felt pressured to be exactly like everyone else, because if he wasn’t, that must have meant he was worthless. David couldn’t read as easily as the rest of his peers. But that does not mean he should have to go home crying, feeling worthless, and wanting to die. A problem as small as not being able to read became a question so great. Do I have any worth? That is the main struggle David dealt with.
The issue at hand was not his reading disability, but the education system. You can’t cram a mechanical pencil into a pencil sharpener and expect it to come out a perfectly sharpened pencil; you need to find a better way for the mechanical pencil to get more lead. David says when they discovered there was a problem they began testing him, his peers began teasing him, and they put him in with the special needs students. Much like a mechanical pencil in a pencil sharpener, he broke, and had no confidence to try anything for fear of failure. Then one summer he reluctantly went to a camp where kids had the same issues he did. That was when he realized he was not stupid; in fact he had an above average intelligence. They found out he has a 90 percent IQ. That IQ was in David the entire time, but it wasn’t until they found the best way for him to learn that they discovered it.
I am terrible at math, I always have been and I always will be. I suck at science, social studies makes me fall asleep, and I’m a fairly slow reader. So basically the only thing I could do in Elementary school was recess. I didn’t get bad grades and wasn’t put in any remedial courses, but nothing came easy to me, so like any child who isn’t perfect at everything, I felt I wasn’t good at anything. It wasn’t until high school when I discovered theatre that I realized I wasn’t made to sit and figure out the hypotenuse or hypothesis or any other hypo stuff I’ll never understand, I was made for theatre, I just didn’t know it yet. If I had sat back and never done anything out of fear of failure I never would have found my worth. No matter how hard the teachers tried to get me to excel at all those other subjects I was never going to, because I will never fit that mold. David is trying to let people know that just because you cannot do what others can, does not mean you have no worth. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, take hope in the fact that Albert Einstein couldn’t talk until he was four and he flunked math. You will be just fine.