A cartoon rap flips the script on what it means to 'do well' in school.

Ben Knight taught school in Australia, and he couldn't help but notice something a little bit backward.

So he made some art about it...

...to illustrate — literally — a huge problem he saw.


That problem? The most radical, creative "out-there" square pegs of kids were being forced into round holes in the name of "doing well" in school.

All GIFs via Ben Knight.

The rap he wrote is called "Little Jimmy." In the creative rap and cartoon, Little Jimmy gets shut down by his teachers when he has a "different" and more creative approach to learning.

It's not wrong. He still writes his name.

But it's not "right."

Some teachers do take a positivity approach to teaching and try very hard to avoid ever telling kids they're "wrong" and instead say, "That's great! Now let's try it the way I asked." And those educators should be rewarded royally. I had some teachers like that!

But Little Jimmy was not so lucky. To do well, he had to ignore his natural gifts and conform. As the creator of this rap recites,

"Year by year, teacher by teacher, Jimmy's love of art, his most distinctive feature, was beaten out ... or whatever better word. He put his colors down and knuckled down with his work. "

The story explains that Jimmy got better in school. But in order to do that, he had to trade out his creativity.

To "do well" in academics, "he just had to lower his artistic anima."

Until finally one day at work as an adult, he sees a problem that he just can't solve and he remembers something.

He remembers that spark of creativity.

No one's going to deny that doing well in school is important. But our idea of "good" might be on the way out.

And that's a good thing.

Steve Jobs, speaking about Pixar — an inarguably delightful crucible of creativity and technical prowess — once said, "producing technology requires initiation and creativity."

Using logic is good. Using out-there creativity is also good. Using them together? Who knows what could happen if we truly valued both?

If we make school a place for all minds to truly thrive, all might do better. We might move even further forward.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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