Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007


You are officially one of the highest growing classes in Orange County last year. All of our efforts have paid off. Congratulations! I am so proud, and miss you guys more than ever. Remember when I told you not to be afraid of the FCAT, to be the buzz saw and tear it up? Well, you did and I mentioned you guys throughout a post I wrote today called "BRING ON THE PAIN!". Here it is.....

I received a comment from a good friend on my "The Power of Life" post. He felt bad for me and encouraged me to stay strong and positive, which is a nice thing to say. But I wanted to make it very clear, that being in pain is not necessarily bad. It is in dealing with the pain in your life YOU BECOME STRONGER and MORE POSITIVE. And as your strength increases, so does your ability to cause GREAT change in your life, and hence THE WORLD that interacts with you. (By being a happy and strong person, I believed we could combine great fun with great learning in the classroom)

Pain is an incredible tool to produce miracles. Life IS NOT a pursuit of trying to avoid pain or feel sorry for those that have it in their lives (I was sent to the principal's office at least three times for "expecting too much" from Kenny, yet constantly questioned by other teachers and students if I really ever taught anything because there was so much noise and laughter coming from the room).

The principal chose to trust me. As much as I respect any boss, I was strong enough to believe in myself whether my boss and others did or not. Since I used to crumble when my wives didn't believe in me, I can only attribute this HUGE amount of growth from going through and overcoming MORE fear, doubt, worry and pain involving the loss of my children from my everyday life. Going from a half-million dollar home to a rented room in a neighborhood known as "Crime Hills" didn't hurt me anywhere near this much. (I was too hard on Ryan in the beginning and had to go through the pains of learning a different approach. We ended the year very close.)

I finally learned not to feel sorry for myself (thanks Mom and Dad for saying things I needed to hear). I certainly don't want anyone else feeling sorry for me now. That can only bring me back down and weak. Too many students need me to believe in them. How long can I do that feeling so bad about my situation that I can't sleep at night?

Every person knows how hard it is to hold onto their dreams with each passing year. It is less painful to let them go as foolish and unrealistic than it is to hold on to them. And the more you do make them come true and begin succeeding you WILL have to deal with the pain of critics who really just wish they could be more like you.
(Jessica is a GENIUS! She would create characters to go along with her stories, testing at the very top of the country in reading, and at the highest level you can in math - her WORST subject at the start of the year!)

The main reason they're not more like you is not because they don't have your potential, it's because they haven't put themselves through the process of dealing with their everyday pain as well as you have, and in process, getting strong enough to develop said gifts. This is exactly what I was talking about in "Give One More, To One More". That's why I feel "potential" is nothing. What you do with your potential is everything. (Serena WILL become ANYTHING she wants)

In fact, the more pain, the greater the opportunity for growth. The bigger the obstacle, the bigger you can become. I read somewhere that "you're as big as the obstacle that stops you". I've never forgotten it.

So I put my students through more pain and expectation than they have ever had before.
(I taught Haseeb like Denzel Washington coached his players in "Remember the Titans". This is what worked for him, what he needed. He was accepted to private middle school and Denzel's signed picture is in the room.)

At the same time they experience more fun and laughter than they ever had, probably since Kindergarten, simply because I have taken the pains to learn each of their motivations and learning styles, teach them that way, and then teach them how to motivate and teach themselves.

This produces a great flow of real learning versus trying to force it. As a result, I am allowed to operate as a doctor and strength-coach, identifying and working with individual needs versus standing in front of the room and "teaching" all day. (Kenny, one of my biggest challenges and one of the ones I miss most, grew more in overall reading and math than any other student in the entire 5th grade). I just put a slide show on MySpace (click here) in celebration of their achievement as being one of the highest growing classes in Orange County, FL (the other O.C. :-)

So I say, "BRING ON THE PAIN!" If it doesn't kill you it will make you stronger. I have found this to be very true. I know pain can hurt, but it can't kill. Only you can do that. And ONLY YOU can use it to allow you to grow and become more enlightened, more peaceful, and much happier in the long run, which is TODAY! I have wanted it to kill me in the past because then I wouldn't have to feel it anymore. But I held on one more day, sometimes even one more hour. But I did. (Mighty Malcolm, like myself, wasn't so mighty in the beginning. By the end he was!)

Now I am a healthier and happier person with healthier and happier children, other kids no longer being abused, students in the top of the county and country and I bet the world, straight A's in a tough masters program, and two book series in process. All from struggle, all from pain, all from overcoming fear, doubt and worry - three of the worst drugs you can take into your mind.

So bring on the pain. Bring on the badness. I will not intend or desire any of it, but by Buddha and God and any other enlightened being I can learn from and grow, I WILL SUCCEED. I WILL LIVE WHILE I'M ALIVE. I will live ALIVE-ING versus DYING.

We don't enter school knowing how to do and deal with everything. We don't leave school knowing all of it either. Life is a process, a wonderful adventure that includes scaling cliffs and climbing mountains as much as it does swimming in the ocean and walking through a meadow of flowers.

No matter what mountain you're being asked to climb, CLIMB IT! And when you get to the top, reach out help others up. We are all capable of being more than we're living now, and more greatness than we could ever imagine. Our success is only starting.

There's Zen in Fire! All the time!

*P.S. If you'd like, here is the link to their stories from about Christmas to the end of the year, Stuart's Spectacular Students (I had the strength to know they would be spectacular and hold onto that vision, until they saw it and believed it too. Thank God for the pain I've been through.)

Their stories from the first of the year to Christmas are on Samurai Teaching ~ Sensational Living. This blog got so big I had to make the other. The link to the first student story on the Samurai blog is "The Winners of Washington Shores.'"

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  • At 8:53 AM , Anonymous Jess said...

    Oh my gosh! Really!? I did!? We haven't even gotten my Fcat scores back yet(my mom keeps saying "I'll do it tomorrow")But, wow. I guess all I can say is.... Thanks.

    P.S. Your duck is ready

  • At 8:57 AM , Blogger Adam Stuart said...

    Yes you did! It made me incredibly happy to to see. I will keep the duck forever, and use it to point out your accomplishments to motivate the next group of students. Thanks for everything you did! GREAT year!

  • At 8:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    yo pepole its chad and james were in his class this year great articale

  • At 9:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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