The Story That Inspired -Can You Read Me

wood sculpture by Courtney Devonish

The exercise is based on one of my most memorable experiences as a primary school teacher in Coventry, UK during the late sixties.


One of my eight year-old students was considered a slow learner and his writings were considered gibberish.

The class was asked to write a composition on the Emotion- Hate

This supposedly slow learner came to me with a big smile on his face and asked me to read his composition; of course I could not read it; it did look like gibberish,

“Sir let me read it for you” and he proceeded to read what was the most brilliant piece of writing I had ever seen from any student.

My headmaster thought I was playing games; “none of the children in this school are capable of such writing”, he declared.

I insisted he see the original version;

“That? That is gibberish”.

After some investigation it turned the student’s parents belonged to a religious sect that was anti-social except for among their own members.

The student was only at school because it was illegal not to send a child to school.

He was not allowed to socialize with other students and rare participated in school activities.

He was also being home-schooled by his parents.

His behavior was partly a rebellion against his parents and teachers who openly disliked him and did not know to treat him in the classroom.

His creative style was fun for him and a way to cope with being at school.

After some investigation it was discovered the T had one of the highest IQ’s in the school; he was so bright that he was able to convince an entire school that he was a slow learner.

It was that experience that led me to believe that intelligence could sometimes be seen through the eyes.

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