I never passed English in high school. Can you tell?
Grade school was a miserable experience. As a socially immature individual with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, public education and I were never moving at the same speed. Most days were a constant struggle between acting out and doing just enough to get the teachers to leave me alone so that I could read whatever book I’d brought from home. The experience mercifully ended when I sat in the vice principal’s office facing two options: take and pass the GED or face expulsion.
So whose fault was it? That’s a trick question.
To blame any teacher of mine is a ridiculous notion. Even properly medicated, an individual with ADHD is highly driven to seek out that which is most stimulating to them – be it acting out in uninteresting classes or completely ignoring instruction in favor of reading ahead in the book. To spend as much time as is necessary to handle a student like I was is simply not feasible or rational within our current system. There are 30+ other students who require less effort to achieve greater academic success.
Am I to blame then? Well, if the intention was for me to learn to conform and thrive within the given constraints, I failed spectacularly. At the same time though, how realistic is it to expect someone who is twice their mental age in some areas and half their age in others to succeed in a fixed pace, rigidly structured learning environment?
I failed to adapt to the system, and the system failed to adapt to me. If the goal is to see me educated, where should the responsibility of adaptation ultimately lie? My argument is that adaptability must be intrinsic to the educational process. What is needed is an ever evolving, always on “teacher” with infinite patience and the capability of drilling down to minute granularity any subject matter it is versed in.
Science fiction? No, it’s the future of education.