“Don’t Grade Me on My Spelling” A Situational Leadership Story

14 students, ranging in grade levels from elementary through high school, stand tall and proud on the stage. Their audience? 700 teachers, principals and administrators representing the 9 campuses comprising the Royse City Independent School District, Texas. The event? The annual Convocation kicking off the new school year.

One by one, the students share personal examples of the challenges they face every day dealing with dyslexia:

• “I can’t speak as fast as my mind moves.”
• “People don’t understand me.”
• “I’m not stupid, I have dyslexia.”

Finally, one of the elementary school students shares a message that summarizes all of the statements preceding hers:

“Don’t grade me on my spelling, grade me on what I wrote about”

The impact of these messages is immediate and profound; there isn’t a dry eye in the house … plus everyone is pondering their flexibility−or lack thereof−as leaders of their respective schools or classrooms.

These 14 students with dyslexia just “schooled” 700 education professionals on the power of situational leadership.