Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood


“I couldn’t read. I just scraped by. My solution back then was to read classic comic books because I could figure them out from the context of the pictures. Now I listen to books on tape…Many times I can see a solution to something differently and quicker than other people. I see the end zone and say ‘This is where I want to go.’…Passion is the great slayer of adversity. Focus on strengths and what you enjoy.”

~ Charles Schwab

“You don’t have to be the fastest runner in the relay team or the best speaker on the debate panel, as long as you surround yourself with great people and contribute in your own way.

It’s no secret that I wasn’t the most academic student. Dyslexia held me back from focusing on school work and achieving good grades. However, I learned that if I flanked myself with people that complemented my weaknesses and shared my passions, I could work with them towards greater achievement…

Finding the spotlight isn’t about standing in it. There’s so much to be gained from working with a collective of people who support each other to achieve great things…

It’s therefore incredibly important to surround yourself with people who complement you, aid your self-development, and most importantly allow you to shine – even if it’s in their shadow.”

~ Richard Branson


As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has–or ever will have–something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.

~ Fred Rogers

Learning should be passion-driven and student-centered rather than data-driven and test-centered. Classroom activities should provide numerous opportunities for our students to explore their interests and unleash their special talents.

Learning activities in and out of the classroom should cultivate essential social and emotional skills that students will most surely rely and depend on whether they choose to continue their education in a classroom and/or on the farm…

Considering the diversity of student skills and abilities represented in our classrooms It is foolish and inherently unfair to define and predict student success in life based on a narrow and shallow set of testable math and reading skills.

How proficient 5th grade students become at multiplying or dividing by a power of ten is much less an indicator or predictor of success in life than how many learning opportunities and activities they have in school that help to cultivate student confidence, courage, creativity, and the JOY of feeling “Ten Feet Tall”

I’m clumsy, yeah my head’s a mess Cause you got me growing taller everday…

But you got me feeling like I’m stepping on buildings, cars and boats I swear I could touch the sky…I’m ten feet tall.

You build me up Make me what I never was…

I’ll be careful, so don’t be afraid You’re safe here, no, these arms won’t let you break…

~ Afrojack, “Ten Feet Tall”

Regardless of skill level or ability, all students should feel safe, supported, and valued in school for who they are, and not just for what they can do .

Learning should be a self-directed journey of discovery and students should be “free to learn” how worthy they are, rather than be subjected to repeated testing, sorting, and comparisons only to learn how much they are worth.

data wall

Education programs should cultivate lifelong learners who are passionate and creative risk-takers that follow their dreams rather than proficient and compliant test-takers who can follow directions.

Those students who are resilient and who persevere will succeed in life despite learning or reading disabilities. It is foolish to demand all students independently “dive into” complex informational text before they have learned to “Swim”

You gotta swim And swim when it hurts…

I swim to brighter days Despite the absence of sun…

I’m not giving in I swim…

Yeah you gotta swim Don’t let yourself sink

Just find the horizon I promise you it’s not as far as you think

~ Jack’s Mannequin, “Swim”

While determining the success of schools and effectiveness of teachers based on how many students graduate Common Core “ready” for college and careers may benefit corporate education reformers, history has clearly taught us that society will benefit when every student graduates eager to test their limits and ready to change the world.


6 thoughts on “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

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