I Was a Brain-Washed School Teacher (Raising Entrepreneurs)

This might possibly be one of the most encouraging things you’ve ever watched, especially if you have a child who struggles with school, or doesn’t “fit the mold”, or hates math. 😉

Understanding the fact that different kids have different bents has escaped mainstream thought. I think one of the most harmful things the conventional classroom does (by default) is define the “success” of a student by a grossly narrow measure. That’s the only way to mass produce “education”.

I remember when I taught high school, with great shame, giving a tongue-lashing to an 18-year old student, towering over me with tears in his eyes. I had been brainwashed too. Since he wasn’t a proficient reader and hated The Scarlett Letter, I branded him like the other teachers had done, and I let him know that “his lack of interest in school was going to ruin his life”. I have since tried to find him to apologize.

This young man was, however, already working at nights with a relative in a mechanic shop. He loved it. He couldn’t remember the answers to a test I gave him, but he knew every name of every part of a motor and could put it back together with his eyes closed. Among my teaching peers, “Brian” was “dumb, unmotivated and destined to be a loser”. This was all unverbalized, but spoken in many other ways.

I’ve heard he is a successful man now, without The Scarlett Letter or an impressive ACT score. He is doing what he is good at, and that is equally brilliant.

Cameron Herold, famous entrepreneur and highest-rated lecturer at MIT’s Master’s Program, is well-acquainted with the woes of my former student. He laments his strengths being ignored, one of the inherent flaws in modern, education-thinking:

“Kids, when we grow up, we have dreams and we have passions, and somehow we get those things crushed, and we get told that we need to study harder or be more focused or get a tutor…when I was in grade 2, I won a speaking competition. But nobody had ever said, ‘hey, this kid’s a good speaker, he can’t focus, but he loves walking around and getting people energized’–no one said ‘get him a coach in speaking’, they said to get me a tutor at what I suck at.”

You simply must watch this inspirational video–Let’s Raise Our Kids to be Entrepreneurs.

I am not suggesting all kids should become entrepreneurs, because someone has to work for them. But I think we short-circuit the potential of untold millions of children, and damage their self-worth because we measure their potential by a very short and narrowly defined stick….and often drug the creative potential right out of them.

14 Responses to “I Was a Brain-Washed School Teacher (Raising Entrepreneurs)”

  1. 6 arrows says:

    Kelly, thank you so much for this. One of my children very definitely does not “fit the mold”, and this inspires me to look beyond his struggles to really try to understand who God created him to be; how to facilitate his talents while working to develop necessary life skills. It’s so easy, when one has a developmentally delayed child, to put more focus on remedying the deficits, to the near exclusion of trying to discover and build up the child’s strong areas.

    I think traditional schooling fails to meet the needs of so many children, whether they are “labeled” or not. For too many children, education is a dry, lifeless waste of time that is not suited to their individual needs and bents, as you’ve pointed out. Along those lines, you may be interested in a book I have checked out of the library right now, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, by Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D. I haven’t started reading it yet, but I’ve skimmed a few areas, and I find this passage to be noteworthy:

    “Many of the people I’ve talked about in this book say that they went through the whole of their education without really discovering their true talents. It is no exaggeration to say that many of them did not discover their real abilities until after they left school – until they had recovered from their education.”

    Wow, “recovered from their education”. Now there’s something to chew on. And so is your statement “He laments his strengths being ignored, one of the inherent flaws in modern, education-thinking.” Completely agree, and it’s a good thing for this homeschool mom to think on, too, that I don’t bring a traditional school-at-home mindset into our home. I don’t want my kids to get an education from which they have to recover!

    • Ponder Woman says:

      Oh my! That is a good quote! Recovering from education indeed. I had to do that too. Sometimes I think I’m still not fully recovered!

      I knew for a long time already that if nothing came in the way of it that I wanted to homeschool the children and my husband agreed with that. But I had this idea of bringing school into the home when thinking about it. I’m really glad that I have been forced to examine the futility of this. Why would one do the exact same thing and just change the environment it is done in? It really doesn’t make sense! It may work for some people but it seems to frustrate a lot of homeschool moms to the point where they just give up on homeschooling altogether.

      Anyway, thanks for sharing that quote; I’m loving it!

  2. Karen says:

    This is encouraging to me. We have a 14 year old daughter who struggles to learn ,we have had tutors mainly for reading ..and she can now read at about a 6th grade level ,but has no idea what any of it means… But she can now read most of the words..that is an improvement, right? She seems bright and intelligent and very creative especialy loves dress making and any kind of art… but when I suggest actually learning how to use all the functions on the sewing machine she refuses…and I see her struggeling to reinvent the wheel….or take an art class to gain some basic information…again she refuses. I realize she does not trust anyone to teach her anything because in the past no one has been helpful. Her dream is to adopt lots of children , she talks about this most of all. I actually want to have her stop with tutors , we have paid for them for about 5 years now . I have always loved reading and maybe I am a reading snob…it just does not seem right to send my child out into this world without the ability to read. And yet I cannot open the top of her skull and pour in this knowledge. People, teachers friends etc think she just needs the right program or I didn’t read at home or she should be on medication ( she is a quiet, industrious, well behaved child in and out of school) This video helps me to feel more optimistic about her future. Thank you for putting it up! Karen

  3. Jennifer says:

    “Understanding the fact that different kids have different bents has escaped mainstream thought”

    You know, I just recently came across some jerk who puts down any degree that’s not math or science based. It’s true that some liberal arts degrees won’t get you much if any work, and even good ones like psychiatry and law are not in demand right now, but this guy would put down anyone who got degrees in, say, English or sociology, totally ignoring the fact that many don’t have the kind of intelligence that such degrees require; I certainly don’t, and when agreeing about what was in demand in the market but disagreeing that math and science were the only worthy or even possible degrees, he called me stupid and amusing. Makes my blood boil even thinking about it, and giving kids anything resembling similar treatment? Thank God I had good teachers.

  4. Jennifer says:

    “totally ignoring the fact that many don’t have the kind of intelligence that such degrees require”

    Math and science degrees, I meant.

  5. 6 arrows says:

    Kelly, feel free to ignore this if it doesn’t apply, but regarding your story about the interaction you had with the student you mention, it is noble that you want to find him to apologize, but in the meanwhile, I hope you are not beating yourself up over the incident. Clearly you are repentant over the matter; Christ has forgiven you, so do make sure that you have forgiven yourself, too!

    – written with love by a former teacher who regrets once having given a student a sarcastic “Duh!”, to whom and for what reason I don’t remember, as his classmates laughed.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Thank you, Carol, for so lovingly looking out for me. 😀

      • 6 arrows says:

        No problem, Kelly. 😉

        • Karen says:

          You say you are a former teacher, so you cannot be that same teacher who did that exact same thing to a student in my older daughters class…I was so worried about my younger struggling daughter having that teacher…and she turned out to be a wonderful teacher..very helpful to us and very concerned. !!! We all have bad moments, even the best of us.Karen

          • 6 arrows says:

            Thank you, Karen. Yes, we do all have those moments we wish hadn’t happened…I’m so thankful for the cleansing blood of Christ covering me!

  6. Holly Murphy says:

    I too believed this, however, I just began studying for an alternate teaching cert in TX. Evidently, while we homeschool moms learned that teaching to learning styles and modifying instruction were the most effective way to get children to learn, education has taken notice. Learner centered instruction is now the preferred style of instruction and adopted by many states. We spent 100 years building this system of compulsory ed…so happy to see that maybe, while still mired in bureaucracy, it isn’t dead…

  7. So glad you shared this one. I first viewed this at least 2 years ago and thought it was amazing!!!

    God has put a Calling on each one of our lives and there is NO box to figure that out, just through seeking Him!

    The more out of the box our training and discipling are getting the more brilliant we are becoming!


  8. Misty Glines says:

    Within our little family of nine children (1 girl, 8 boys), we have seen such differences! I KNOW that some of them, had they gone to public/private school, would have been labelled. One child kept flunking Biology tests…but when quizzed verbally and allowed to “discuss” the concept, we quickly realized he knew FAR MORE than the test was looking for…but he had trouble isolating the exact information the test booklet was looking for to write a short answer. His score went from 60’s to 90’s overnight! He is a successful mechanic and small engine repair guy with his own business today.
    Another child would flunk driver’s ed quizzes until the driver’s ed instructor told her that the quizzes were just to see if she had done the homework, but did not count toward her final grade. Again…went from flunking them to 90’s overnight. She finished an entire year of Geometry in 11 days with a score of 84% because that one credit was standing between her and graduation. I know know that she is self motivated and does not enjoy high pressure situations that are thrust upon her ( the corporate world may not be an option here..ha!). She is an amazing wife and mom now with a cooking blog and ready to help other moms even older and more experienced than herself with her amazing organizational skills!
    Another son was beating us at chess and checkers at 4 yrs. of age and memorized anything he read easily. His undiagnosed childhood asthma made running and such harder so he ended up inside reading tons! He is now a Marine, fixing helicopters and has done a tour of Afghanistan and his asthma is no longer an issue. He did not find training hard although he was never mechanically inclined at home and is an international body builder champion..having been self taught in this area! Who knew?!
    Another son was always easy to school although he worked hard. He was self motivated and is now married and working for a company that has rewarded him nicely for his meticulous work after graduating from college. Who knew math would be his field?
    Now, we are “entertained” as we watch the other 6 grow and develop. We have a 19 yr. old who can fix any small engine you give him and works in a grocery store, needing little supervision. We have a 17 yr. old that is an assistant to a front end manager at the same store and is our computer and music whiz! He plays guitar, bass guitar, piano, ukelele, etc. and serves in that capacity willingly! The youngest three show talents in drawing, music, computers, business ventures, etc. Our 11 yr. old has some Aspberger tendencies, or so we have been told, yet he is loving and thoughtful, organized and a math whiz, yet has to work harder at writing and reading comprehension. He has been counting back change to customers at fairs since he was 6 yrs. old! Our 9 yr. old can knit, crochet, play piano, draw, and writes a weekly newsletter for his friends for fun as well as makes balloon animals and bird suet to sell at fairs with his 11 yr. old brother! The 14 yr. old manages a blueberry field for a neighbor and works part time at a grocery store with his older brothers and does well in book work.
    Why do I say all this? Well, I have had the priviledge of watching 9 people grow and learn in so many different ways! If a family has 1 or 2 or 3 kids, they might worry when one or two are soooo different and think they are doing something wrong. You are NOT!! School them in REAL life! Use your books to help you “DO” things…not just read about them..more like a reference source that allows you to springboard. Don’t “study” solar energy…make a solar oven or dehydrator or cooker and use it instead! Use your child’s strength to learn NEW information…and then reinforce it using all his/her senses, thus, strengthening his/her weaknesses. Help them to KNOW how they learn best so they can “envision” new information if they are visual, or use verbal memorizing techniques or songs if they are audio learners, or “make” something if they are kinesthetic…even if only in their head as they get older. This will make them more confident when learning new information, rather than fearful so they won’t “shut down”. Hope this encourages someone!

  9. Deborah says:

    Wow. I love the practical ways of training children to not get a job!
    About finding employees if everyone were an entrepreneur: Jobs would be the new safety net for when a business folds or gets flooded off the map, and the manner of learning new skills or saving for your next start up 🙂 What a place that would be!

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