I first noticed a few months before I turned 12 that I had an extremely powerful imagination. I could get so lost in a book the world “out there” seemed pale in comparison. Even odder, I felt feelings I had never felt before, which I got from those books.
At the same time. I also noticed I got hunches and feelings – years later I realized they were intuitions – that almost always turned out to be right. I was operating mostly on intuition and imagination. Yet I wasn’t all that “rational.,” i.e.. intellectual.
My grades in school were awful. I graduated from high school with a D+++ average. Technically I wasn’t supposed to graduate, since a C was required, but I had already been accepted to college, so the administration let me go.
I realized I was operating on imagination and intuition, then using what intellect I had to analyze things. It was a slow process. I was slow and thoughtful, not a fast thinker at all. I was very slow to judge, since it took me such a long time to understand things. Some people thought I wasn’t very smart.
I do not believe it is possible for a person to be a fast, deep thinker. Only slow thinkers are deep thinkers. I consider fast thinkers to be like shallow, fast-running streams, babbling all the time. Slow thinkers are like oceans. Maybe that old saying, “Still waters run deep” is true.
I found there were, of course, people like me in the past. Einstein and Thomas Edison, for two. Both were considered slow by their teachers, maybe even a little retarded. I know the reason why. They were lost in their imaginations, intuiting things, slowly figuring things out, not interested in school. Slow and thoughtful.
Adam Smith was the same way. Once, while out walking one night, he was so lost in thought he fell into a ditch. I understand completely.
Such people are the ones who advance society through their inventions and discoveries. Some people are entertainers, through acting, music and sports. Those are their talents. Others, with different temperaments, discover and invent.
In a way, I consider such people to be like the cow-catchers on old trains. They clear the way, and the rest of the train (society) follows them.
Unfortunately, schools have never understood such people. They don’t pay attention, their grades are poor, they daydream all the time. I was kicked out of classes, failed classes, put on detention, suspended from school. I spent my weekends partying.
Schools are actually set up for extroverts, i.e., cheerleaders, athletes, etc. They get the praise. People who are a little more introverted join the chess and chemistry clubs and are considered strange nerds. I never joined any of these clubs in high school (being a party animal) but I empathized with them far more than with the athletes and cheerleaders. I understood the latter far, far more than they understood me.
As you can tell, I am not a fan of public schools. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie praising public schools. “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off”? Nope. “Donnie Darko”? Nope.
I do not believe there is any place in schools for the slow, thoughtful, creative students. So I can only conclude these people shouldn’t be in traditional public schools. They should be scooped up and sent to live with their own kind. They’d flourish there a lot more than they are now.
Perhaps there shouldn’t even be public schools. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and the rest of the Founding Fathers didn’t go to school. Franklin was apprenticed to a soap maker when he was 12. He turned out just fine.
For that matter, what’s wrong with tutors for several kids of this type? Why even send them to school? What’s wrong with bonding with a tutor for several years and having a personal relationship? It was done in the past.
The way things stand now, I think things are going to get a lot worse before then get better.