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Thread: Teacher under fire for graduation speech for telling grads "they're not all special"

  1. #31
    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    I read about this speech last week and that article (probably HuffPo) said it was very well received by the students, faculty & parents. What's wrong with saying it like it is? There is not much special about a high school graduate, there's potential and I got from the speech that's all he was saying.
    If i hear one more personal attack, i will type while drunk, then you can cry! - Bugdoll
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    Quote Originally Posted by shedevilang View Post
    (Replying to MontanaMama) This is some of the smartest shit I ever read

  2. #32
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    "Florida students bomb on new standardized tests that count spelling, grammar & content, so state lowers passing grade from 67% to 50%"

    Yeah. No coddling at all.
    1. This is Florida we're talking about, where average women masturbate on the side of the highway for no particular reason.

    2. Testing is a whole nother thing...Today's kids grow up being tested up the wazoo and experience associated pressure that I never had to deal with growing up. It's not all coddling and putting in a cotton box, kids today are also poked and prodded like rats in a Skinner box. Maybe that additional scrutiny also reinforces the sense of specialness and that everything they do matters, I don't know. But from watching my kids grow up (one who is an overachiever, the other a special ed kid), I can tell you that they are often compared to each other and they know when they are found wanting, so it's not all stars and trophies.

    The problem is, and I am sure this was part of what the speaker was trying to say, is that a lot of it is meaningless bullshit and has little to do with how they will handle real life or find happiness. He just had to go off like a superior twat about it, which is stupid because it makes it harder to take in the valid points he made.
    There is not much special about a high school graduate, there's potential and I got from the speech that's all he was saying.
    One of my pet peeves is the high expectations some kids seem to have just for graduating from high school...parties, gifts, cars, etc. I told both my kids that it is a personal milestone in their lives but that graduating from high school is mandatory, not some special achievement and that we will celebrate accordingly.

  3. #33
    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    It's what happens when you politicize education, everyone gets dumber.
    If i hear one more personal attack, i will type while drunk, then you can cry! - Bugdoll
    (716): I'd call her a cunt, but she doesn't seem to have the depth or warmth
    Quote Originally Posted by shedevilang View Post
    (Replying to MontanaMama) This is some of the smartest shit I ever read

  4. #34
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    The no-child-left-behind method has shortchanged kids and teachers. I think everyone would benefit if teacher could have the freedom to use more creative methods and just be allowed to teach.
    MohandasKGanja and lurkur like this.
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  5. #35
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    The no-child-left-behind method has shortchanged kids and teachers. I think everyone would benefit if teacher could have the freedom to use more creative methods and just be allowed to teach.
    It's difficult to find anyone who has anything positive to say about No Child Left Behind.

  6. #36
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    And yet it goes on and on.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  7. #37
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    And yet it goes on and on.
    It is very difficult to repeal, so state after state is going to court to file for a waiver so that they don't have to abide by all the rules.

  8. #38
    Elite Member Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    The teacher in question is the most popular teacher in the school. The students chose him as a speaker at their graduation. And he didn't just come up with this critcism of the education system spontaneously. He's been vocal about his views for years. Apparently, that's what his students love him for. The majority of the kids and parents liked the speech. There's nothing to debate, he's right.
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  9. #39
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    By definition, he screwed up the speech. Excerpts from him explaining himself:
    But the father of four says all of the attention has been "upsetting to me for a couple of reasons."
    "One is that I've become the story," McCullough said. "And it was their graduation. We were there to celebrate their achievement, their beginning. And now the cameras are on me and they really shouldn't be."
    The other reason, he said, is that his message has been distorted with all of the focus on the "you're not special" part of his speech.

    Read more: Teacher defends
    This guy should have known that the way he gave the speech would draw more attention to himself than to his attempted larger point, or his students.

    As to the second point, the focus on "you're not special" - the guy spent at least four paragraphs of his speech needlessly hammering the "you're not special theme" before he got to what he felt was his central thesis.

    He probably should have asked his dad, who is a 2-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and National Book Award winner, for a review of his speech draft before he finalized it.

  10. #40
    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    Why? They are NOT special. They are graduating high school. Zipadeedodah. It's what they do with the foundation that makes them special. I'm not really understanding why you have such an issue here, Mohandas.
    If i hear one more personal attack, i will type while drunk, then you can cry! - Bugdoll
    (716): I'd call her a cunt, but she doesn't seem to have the depth or warmth
    Quote Originally Posted by shedevilang View Post
    (Replying to MontanaMama) This is some of the smartest shit I ever read

  11. #41
    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    Recently one of my FB friends excitedly referred to her daughter's high school graduation as her lifetime achievement. This kid is no honor student by far, just an ordinary kid graduating high school like every other kid her age who managed not to fuck up (not too much, anyway!) bad enough not to make it through during the usual amount of time it takes.

    Of course, I didn't comment, but my thoughts: Since when is graduating high school a 'lifetime achievement'? A milestone maybe. But gimmie a damn break here. Graduating high school is about the least of what a kid should be expected to do. Here's what I remember about graduating HS: Congrats, kid! Now what are you gonna do?
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  12. #42
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMama View Post
    Why? They are NOT special. They are graduating high school. Zipadeedodah. It's what they do with the foundation that makes them special. I'm not really understanding why you have such an issue here, Mohandas.
    It's a really bad speech. He totally buried his supposed central point ("that selflessness is the best thing to do for yourself." "That the planet needs them,” he said. “That if the privileged kids, the kids who have enjoyed every advantage, don't step up, then what chance do we have?") under a "you're not special" mantra. These kids may not be brilliant, but I think he only needs to say it once or twice then move on. Not make a fetish of how "unspecial" they are. Even the word "special" is so nebulous as to have little meaning.
    Last edited by MohandasKGanja; June 12th, 2012 at 11:36 AM. Reason: Because I'm not special and made a spelling error.

  13. #43
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBDSP View Post
    His speech could have been boiled down to a few basic points and skipped a lot the smarter-than-thou rhetoric. Who is he trying to impress, a bunch of high school kids?
    smarter-than-thou? trying to impress?
    how? by referencing zeus, epictetus, darwin, thoreau and walt whitman? who the hell doesn't know who they are by the time he/she graduates high school? do you think knowing that guatemala is a country is an impressive feat?
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  14. #44
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    It's a really bad speech. He totally buried his supposed central point ("that selflessness is the best thing to do for yourself." "That the planet needs them,” he said. “That if the privileged kids, the kids who have enjoyed every advantage, don't step up, then what chance do we have?") under a "you're not special" mantra. These kids may not be brilliant, but I think he only needs to say it once or twice then move on. Not make a fetish of how "unspecial" they are. Even the word "special" is so nebulous as to have little meaning.
    Exactly. It's just a poorly constructed speech.

  15. #45
    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    It's a really bad speech. He totally buried his supposed central point ("that selflessness is the best thing to do for yourself." "That the planet needs them,” he said. “That if the privileged kids, the kids who have enjoyed every advantage, don't step up, then what chance do we have?") under a "you're not special" mantra. These kids may not be brilliant, but I think he only needs to say it once or twice then move on. Not make a fetish of how "unspecial" they are. Even the word "special" is so nebulous as to have little meaning.
    Ah but it got attention and will be remembered. I thought it was great and absolutely see nothing wrong with humbling 18 year olds and reminding them that world existed before they were born, has had no discernible change since they've walked the earth and will (probably) continue long after they have departed. If they want to make an impression, do something. It's a great message.
    If i hear one more personal attack, i will type while drunk, then you can cry! - Bugdoll
    (716): I'd call her a cunt, but she doesn't seem to have the depth or warmth
    Quote Originally Posted by shedevilang View Post
    (Replying to MontanaMama) This is some of the smartest shit I ever read

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