During my long journey through the educational system, I always felt like a round peg in a square hole. Although I could never put my finger on what the problem was exactly, I always felt like I was at the wrong school, as if there might be another school across town that was meant for me. Looking back now, I realize that the root of the problem was that I was more "creative" and "artistic" than I was a "memorizer" and "regurgitator," which were the type of skills that were most highly rewarded in the school "system." Art was considered a way for us kids to "blow steam." Creativity was frowned upon, whereas following the strict, rigid guidelines was rewarded. Memorization was king; it was everything. And, sadly, it still seems that way today.
Now as an adult, I find that when I encounter someone who understands this "disconnect" that I experienced, it's very exciting. I just happened across a video by Sir Ken Robinson at the TED conference, which takes place in Monterey, CA. His 20 minute presentation made my hair stand on end. Funny. Clever. Insightful. Redemptive. I felt like doing cartwheels when I heard him say this:
"Many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they're not, because the thing they were good at at school wasn't valued or was actually stigmitized."
If you are a teacher, a school administrator, a parent, a kid, or have ever met a kid, you should watch this short talk here.