The Inspirations of Captain Underpants

My kids have been waiting for the newest Captain Underpants book to come to the library. Last week we went and picked up book #11, Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation or the Turbo Toilet 2000, on hold. When we entered the public library to pick up the book my son could not wait to read it. At home he sat down on the couch and quickly read it. Then he turned to the last page and read the bio of the author, Dav Pilkey (I posted Dav’s bio on the Wildewood Learning Facebook page). As I read Dav’s bio my heart felt heavy. I empathized for him, as I learned about the way his talents were treated when he was in elementary school. I then went to his website and read the comic strip version of his bio, again my heart sank.

Captain Underpants created by Dav Pilkey
Captain Underpants created by Dav Pilkey

I quote Dav, “For his crimes against humanity Dav Pilkey was sentenced to four years of high school where unfortunately, many of Dav’s teachers excelled in the art of constructive criticism!” The teachers in the picture are looming over Dav and saying, “You’re a bad influence!” and “You’ll never amount to anything, art-boy.” In the picture you can see the defeat in younger Dav’s eyes.

I think of all the kids who have crossed paths with me in the 18 years I worked in public schools. I have a heart for kids and the ones that come to my mind are the kids that struggled both socially and academically.

I think of the middle school boy in my class that didn’t complete the essay question on the test, however I was aware he knew the answer. So I had him give me the answer orally. He aced the test!

Or the Kindergarten boy that when we were sitting on the carpet talking about times we felt sad and he said “I feel sad because my mom is in jail and I don’t get to see her. “  His comment and the sadness in his face brought tears to my eyes (it still does).

Or the high school girl that was eating her lunch in the bathroom and I invited her into my classroom to eat. I guess she just couldn’t face the lunchroom that day.

I have lots of stories about the kids that stick in my head. There were some days I did feel so frustrated with a students’ behavior I did set him or her out in the hall. Yes, I did do that because I am human and I have a tolerance level.

Dav Pilkey described high school as four long years of discouragement and humiliation. Luckily he found one teacher at college that believed in his talents. One adult that said “Haw, This is hilarious. You’re such a good writer and artist Dav. You should make children books!”

Sometimes that is all it takes. One encouragement from an adult, one person that finds values in your talents. One person that can guide you on your way.

Today there are so many choices for a high school education. Some of the choices available for students are public schools (charter, online and brick and mortar), private schools (online and brick and mortar), self-directed learning programs, Mass Open Online Courses (MOOC) from colleges around the world, post-secondary education options in many states, or homeschooling.

Finding the right path for your child can lead them to an education they will cherish, revel in and build them up.

Dave Pilkey was a kid with ADHD, dyslexia and behavioral problems. In an interview, he admits that as a kid he felt stupid. Your child has many more choices in education today, don’t let your child feel trapped, jailed, discouraged, shamed or told that they are not good enough. There is a place for them in this world. Let me help you find that place where they can feel confident, strong and excited about learning.

Sources:

http://www.orrt.org/pilkey/

http://www.pilkey.com/#meet-dav


 

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