Teaching the Fish to Swim

Teaching the Fish to Swim

I remember it like it was yesterday.

A bold, bright, red “F” scrawled hauntingly on top of my test paper.

The shame and horror burned its way through my heart to the bedrock of my being and began to pour a toxic foundation of lies.

“You’re so dumb.”

“You won’t amount to anything!”

“You’re worthless.”

It was my freshman year of college.  I was majoring in biology in a pre-medicine track at the time.  And I was failing. 

Thankfully, I had enough years of successful schooling under my belt to question the lies taking root in my soul. I was also lucky enough to be at a small college where my professors quickly caught on and confirmed that no, my struggles in my pre-med classes were not due to lack of intelligence.  I was simply gifted in other areas.

I see that same look  of shame and horror I had when I received my “F” on the faces of kids every week when they walk in to our after school program – BLAST.   The toxic lies painted across their cheeks and drawing shadows around their eyes.  Some of them have engaged the lies so fully that they even speak it to themselves:

“I’m stupid.”

“I can’t do this.”

And why wouldn’t they believe it?  In most cases, society has written them off completely before they even reach the third grade…

Read more. 

1 Comment

  1. Jeff Nguyen on March 11, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I have seen this up close in the elementary schools where children are called Level 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, etc. No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top has done more to permanently scar children and alienate them from learning than any other initiative I can think of. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

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