For those of you who have long since gotten sick of the trend among education experts toward “self esteem” rather than actual learning, this story will be extremely cathartic.
David McCullough, Jr.
Wellesley High School teacher David McCullough, Jr. (son of historian David McCullough) had apparently had enough of feeding blithering platitudes to his students and decided to tell the truth. The result sparked controversy among the parents, who didn’t like hearing their children accused of being cosseted and pampered little brats who believed they were special for no reason. But sometimes the truth hurts. Read the greatest hits below:
You are not special. You are not exceptional.
Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you … you’re nothing special.
Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have. And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs. Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet. Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman! [Editor’s upgrade: Or The Swellesley Report!] And now you’ve conquered high school … and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building…