I’m sure I would arrested if I gave this speech today.

Well maybe not arrested but detained and social services called for sure.

To give this a little context we need to take a journey back to my high school days. School and me were like oil and water, we really didn’t mix. I hated everything about school and school hated everything about me.

Week two of my first year in high school I was pulled out of class. The guy told me I was not smart enough, his actual words, to learn Spanish so he was placing me in a study class.

In my third year of high school I moved to a much smaller town where, it felt, everyone kinda knew each other. I knew no one. There were days when I never spoke. I made it a game to see how many days in a row I could go without speaking to anyone, kids or teachers. There were days when I met up with my sister, she went to a different high school, and it was hard to talk because I hadn’t talked for hours.

I’m not bitter. I look back on these days more thankful than not, those days helped me grow so much.

There was one social studies class that I did talk just once. The teacher was lecturing on and talking about something when he made a mistake. Little did he know I did read the book, the whole book. I knew a lot about what he was talking about but I would never share that. Any test I just put random answer down because it didn’t matter. When I heard the mistake I knew what page in the book where the answer was and my hand shot up. He stopped in his tracks and just stared at me, I had never participated in anything. The whole class turned to look, shocked. I asked him to look at a certain paragraph on a page where he could find the correct answer. He was floored. The class was floored. Who was this weirdo who just called out the teacher? I don’t think I ever talked again and the teacher never talked to me about it.

I think it was my fourth year when I had to take speech again because I failed the first time. The first time I never gave a speech, I didn’t do anything.

The teacher was frustrated that she told me I could give a speech on anything I wanted, I just needed to do one to pass. People were giving speeches about prom, making lunches, topics that were so foreign to me.

I told her I wanted to do a speech on improvised explosives. I said this partly because I was interested and partly because I thought she would say no. She said yes if I had some sort of resources. So I pulled this book out of my bag.

Her eyes grew but then told me to mark the pages I wanted to use as transparencies. I had make about 15 of them of various pages.

The day came and I talked for maybe fifteen minutes. The class was dead silent. I’m sure partly because of the content and partly due to me, I never talked.

Did I ever act upon anything I talked about in the civilian world? Nope. I was super passionate about the ideas presented in the book, it was fascinating.

If a student asked to speak on these topics today what would happen?

5 thoughts on “I’m sure I would arrested if I gave this speech today.

  1. Colin, the way you tell this story made me feel as if I were reading a novel– wow! Incredible experience you describe with such well-chosen detail. Interesting question you pose at the end– that kid would probably be treated much differently nowadays. Thank you for sharing this post!


  2. I find it interesting that many teachers did not have a great school experience as children. I too struggled significantly for three years due to a home situation. Whatever the reason for the struggle, I think it makes us understand those students who may be having a similar struggle.
    No, I don’t think that topic would be allowed today. If a student did present that topic without permission, I am sure there would be a suspension and a referral to therapy.


  3. You definitely “hooked” me with your title. Good work. And I think you did a great job of retelling the experience. I agree that that topic would definitely raise a lot of eyebrows and concerns if done today.


  4. Wow- your description of how you were as a student is so clear and the moment when you raised your hand so well written- I felt like I was there- shocked like everyone else in the room.


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