Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: From 'dumb row' to success
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|From 'dumb row' to success|
John Corcoran was placed in the "dumb" row as an elementary student. He was having trouble reading. But, Corcoran did not let his presence in the "dumb" row destroy him psychologically.
He went on to graduate from high school. He attended Texas Wesleyan on a basketball scholarship. He graduated from Texas Wesleyan and went on to teach high school social studies for 18 years. After his tenure as a high school social studies teacher, he left the field of education to enter the business world where he became a highly successful real estate developer.
Does this sound like a great American success story? Of course it is, but the irony of this story is that John Corcoran's success did not overcome his great fear of the secret that he had lived with all his life being found out. The only person that knew about his secret was his wife. He had told her before they married to make sure that she would still want to marry him.
No one else ever knew. His principal of 18 years did not know. None of his students had ever known. None of his teachers had ever known. None of the attorneys, accountants or any of his employees that were on his payroll had ever known. Not even his children had known, but finally John Corcoran could no longer live with this psychological torment any longer. He went to the local center for illiterates and told them that he wanted to learn how to read.
John Corcoran was an illiterate man. He could not read a word. He had lived with this emotional scar for 48 years. Yes, Corcoran was considered a success by all our standards.
When I watched an interview of this courageous man, I saw the tears flow as he shared his experiences of all these years. I could not hold back my own tears. When they interviewed his wife, she too, began to cry. I cried with her, also.
But there is a happy ending to this story: John Corcoran learned how to read. First, he learned two letter words, then three letter words, then four letter words, but he learned how to read. Most importantly, he could now read to his little girl. He stated that he now felt like a like a whole person.
Education means to teach; to draw out. To teach means to educate the whole person. To teach means to touch, to influence, to stir the intellect, and to inspire. I don't believe in dumb students. They are either physically sick, psychologically wounded or uninspired.
Intelligence means the ability to learn. All students have that ability and teachers should always be looking for ways to bring that ability to the forefront; even in those who don't appear to have that intellectual ability. Let us never forget those students who don't seem to fit our criteria for learning; for you may be teaching a John Corcoran.
John Corcoran has become a sought-after speaker who talks to audiences all over the world. He has authored "The Teacher Who Can't Read." I know you are like me and want to know, "How did he pass all these years?" How did he teach for 18 years and no one ever discovered that he could not read? This is why "The Teacher Who Can't Read." is such an interesting book.
He has recently released another book, "The Bridge to Literacy." If your child has some type of learning disability, these books are a must read. I recommend these books for teachers, also.
John Corcoran is another success story about a man who never gave up.
Robert Charles Payne is an inspirational writer who lives in West Monroe. He can be contacted by e-mailing email@example.com.