Don’t Pay Attention To The Losers Around You – Rise Above Them 

Editorial by Robert Kirwan
   If you ask my former students to give their opinion on what kind of teacher I was, I am sure you will get some interesting answers. As a matter of fact, some of them even expressed their opinions to my face – a move that often resulted in disciplinary action such as detentions and suspensions. However, for the most part, I like to think that I made a positive difference in the life of most of the children who came in contact with me during my 28 year career.
   One thing that I hope to be remembered for is that I always took special care to make sure my classroom was a “safe” environment for all learners – regardless of their intellectual, emotional or physical abilities.
   As a “classroom manager” I absolutely despised any kind of action that was intended to embarrass, ridicule or bully another student. I demanded that every single person in my classroom be treated with respect and be “free” to express their ideas and opinions without fear of being laughed at if they made a mistake. I was proud of the fact that my classroom was a place where children were free to try their best and make mistakes without fear of ridicule. It was also a place where children who didn’t accept that principle lived in fear of discipline every single day.
   I learned early in my career that children can be cruel to each other. I also was witness to the fact that many children find out very early in life that it is much easier to fail than to be successful; and that they often gained more notoriety and recognition as failures and discipline problems than those children who were constantly working hard to develop their talents and skills. In my classroom, I constantly encouraged the “failures” to step away from their “bondage” – to step away from the hold that their “loser friends” had on them and to attempt to change in a positive way. However, for many, the subtle strategies employed by the “group” often brought them back into the fold and they once again became problem children in order to fit in with the crowd.
   As a classroom teacher I saw too many bright young boys and girls simply stop trying in order to avoid the criticism and ridicule of the “group”. I saw too many children who were so afraid of being called “geeks” that they simply sat back and put in their time during school, waiting for the opportunity to get away from the “failures and bullies” that were holding them back.
   And so, as I look back on my teaching career, and as I now see some of my former students walking around town with their own children, I hope that among other things, they remember my class as being a safe environment for learning; a place where they felt free to try their best without ridicule and criticism. I hope that I taught them to prevail over the failures and losers they will meet in their life who are committed to spending their time lowering the standards of everyone around them. I hope that they learned to “rise above those who would try to tear you down” and feel the satisfaction of being a positive influence on your family, your fellow workers and you community.
   There will always be winners in this world and there will always be losers who are hoping that the winners will fail. When you dig deep down inside these losers, you will often find people who really would like to be a winner but who are
too scared to try, and they attempt to cover up their own failures as human beings by laughing at others. In a sense we should feel sorry for them.
   Just remember – the world is a better place because of people who try and who are not afraid to do their best. Rise above the losers in the world and don’t let anything stand between you and your dreams.
   Have a good week!


The Private Practice of
Robert Kirwan, OCT., B.A. (Math), M.A. (Education)
Independent Education, Training & Career Development Consultant