Perfect combinations are rare in an imperfect world.
I was a reasonably good elementary school student (although certainly not the best in my class), and then a not-very-good middle school student, and then a poor student for much of high school. (I failed my junior English class, and had to write essays about The Bluest Eye and Twelfth Night over the summer to get a D.)
Some of this had to do with intellectual challenges: I was a bit behind the curve when it came to abstractions. Like, I could not handle the idea of the equation x + 2 = 4, because x is not a number, so how is that even possible? My struggle with abstractions was also seen in my study of literature and anything that couldn’t be, like, memorized. (I’ve always been a pretty good speller, for instance.)
Some of my troubles in school also had to do with what in retrospect were social and mental health challenges. But I was very lucky to have teachers who saw a lot of potential in me and refused to give up on me, even when I was defiant and annoying and set off fireworks outside their bedroom windows. (Do not do this. It is not cool. It is just annoying.)
That said, I think it’s an oversimplification to say that I was a “troubled child” or whatever. By college, I was engaged and interested in many of my subjects and became, as my favorite college professor once called me, “a solid B+ kind of fellow.”
I don’t think it’s fair to see some kids as merely smart and others as merely troubled, or to think that kids who are performing poorly in school are simply miscreants/stupid/whatever. (It’s also unfair to portray kids who perform well in school or who have expansive vocabularies or whatever as inherently untroubled.)
Of course, none of this should be an excuse to give up. It can be really hard to try to stay engaged in school/learning/anything, especially when you don’t have the kind of support I was lucky to enjoy. But it’s also worth it. Learning is hard, and learning how to learn is hard, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It really is something that we have to do for a lifetime—or, more optimistically, that we get to do for a lifetime.
Thank you, John Green, for the reminder that my most difficult student might become a brilliant writer and humanitarian.
reblog and make a wish!
this was removed from tumbrl due to “violating one or more of Tumblr’s Community Guidelines”, but since my wish came true the first time, I’m putting it back. :)
OH MY FUCKING GOD, IT’S BACK ON MY DASH.
THIS SHIT WORKS OKAY, I AM DEAD SERIOUS.
The last time I saw this on my dash, I didn’t think it would happen, so jokingly I wished I could go to a fun. concert.
AND GUESS WHAT, I WENT TO A FUCKING FUN. CONCERT.
THIS SHIT WORKS, TRY IT.
yay its back.
I half jokingly reblogged this yesterday cos I thought it was a nice picture…
and was like oh wow I only get wishes on birthdays what would I wish for?!?!?! how about gainful employment L0L
… and like…
I have a job now? That I never applied for? That someone just called me up and said “here, have this”? In a place I really really like?
So like… h8ers gonna h8 or something
i’ve been waiting for this to come back on so i can make another wish
Everything’s changed. And I don’t know if it could ever be the same.
She had a big heart. Big enough for both of us. Had to be. I wasn’t even human when we first met. I never expected that to change. She reached out and found something I didn’t even know was there. She never hurt anybody. She was innocent. And she died a brutal death and I can’t fix it. But I know I have to try here in Miami with the people who knew her and who cared about her. And who loved her. Like I did.
The problem that needs to be fixed is not kick all the girls out of YA, it’s teach boys that stories featuring female protagonists or written by female authors also apply to them. Boys fall in love. Boys want to be important. Boys have hopes and fears and dreams and ambitions. What boys also have is a sexist society in which they are belittled for “liking girl stuff.” Male is neutral, female is specific.
I heard someone mention that Sarah Rees Brennan’s THE DEMON’S LEXICON would be great for boys, but they’d never read it with that cover. Friends, then the problem is NOT with the book. It’s with the society that’s raising that boy. It’s with the community who inculcated that boy with the idea that he can’t read a book with an attractive guy on the cover.
Here’s how we solve the OMG SO MANY GIRLS IN YA problem: quit treating women like secondary appendages. Quit treating women’s art like it’s a niche, novelty creation only for girls. Quit teaching boys to fear the feminine, quit insisting that it’s a hardship for men to have to relate to anything that doesn’t specifically cater to them.
Because if I can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and want to grow up to be an archaeologist, there’s no reason at all that a boy shouldn’t be able to read THE DEMON’S LEXICON with its cover on. My friends, sexism doesn’t just hurt women, and our young men’s abysmal rate of attraction to literacy is the proof of it.
If you want to fix the male literary crisis, here’s your solution:
Become a feminist.” —