Saturday, June 9, 2012

"You are not special"

Anyone who gets this guy as a HS teacher can count himself lucky.


Anon1152 said...

At least those of us for whom highschool can watch it on Youtube. "You're not special" is a good message. I had read about this speech earlier, but hadn't seen the whole thing till now (thank you, by the way).

Todd said...

This reminds me a lot of a TEDx talk from last year entitled, "You're Not That Great: A Motivational Speech." After years of being kid-gloved people really seem hungry for this kind of message.


Nic said...

To be honest, I thought this was going to be yet another embittered rant about "kids these days", regardless of whether his audience believed that the world owed him a living or not. I don't deny that there are some students who believe that the world owes them a living, but I'm sick and tired of people assuming that every student is like that.

And I was so, so pleased to find out that this speech is the complete opposite. There aren't many teachers out there who give a monkey's about what happens to their students after they've left and David McCullough is clearly one of that rare breed.

He said "you're not special", not "you're not special and never will be". And the lines about climbing the mountain, I simply don't see how they could be construed as anything other than encouraging those students to chase their dreams and, most importantly, to chase them for the right reasons. Most graduates are going to come under a lot of scrutiny at some point from those around them; that vaguely threatening "so what are your plans now?" through to the raised eyebrow or, even better, an outright sneer if your plans don't happen to meet with their approval. People aren't shy about offering their opinions, you are going to come across those who think that medicine, engineering or science are the only three graduate jobs worth having, and it can be tempting to chase a dream that isn't a dream at all, just to buy yourself some peace and quiet.

No-one should have to do that and you're not going to get the most of life that way. You don't have to make those around you believe that you're the best, you just have to try to be the best you possibly can be. There's a real difference between these two things.

Nic said...

*owed them a living, sorry.