What do “class clowns” and learning disabilities have in common? Many times it’s the so-called “class clown” who is struggling with an undiagnosed or under-diagnosed learning disability. They clown around in class and are disruptive because they’re frustrated and feel totally beaten by the classroom curriculum. They’ve been socially promoted or athletically promoted throughout their academic career. They reach high school with a credit system, where not only are they scared and lost, they’re embarrassed.
Subsequently, the clown becomes even more of a behavior problem at school and at home. If drugs have not been used to alleviate some of the frustration, this is the juncture where they become even more inviting. School has become a jail term that they must serve until they’re old enough to drop out. Until then, the party’s on…what’s this student got to lose? They’ve been failed by the educational system and they know it.
To add to all of their problems, they’re dealing with a post 911 world, personal relationships, peer pressure, teachers, administrators, and parents. I put parents last on the list because in the eyes of this “class clown” teen, that’s exactly where they are. Easy to see how this teen would want to escape a bit of this pressure by using behavior, drugs, sex, the unmentionable, whatever. It’s a whole lot easier to blame their failure on anything, and I repeat, anything, other than being stupid, which is how they fear they will be seen if they take themselves seriously.
To sum things up, if you have a “class clown” teen as a child, student, friend, or if YOU are this “class clown”, there is help for you. First of all, STOP clowning around! Talk to your parents, teachers, and administrators about some extra help. There are all kinds of programs available to students in need in our country’s public high schools. Ask about programs specific to your region. Work those teachers! Don’t be shy, be assertive and demand what is yours; a free, quality education. Attend tutoring on a regular basis. If a teacher isn’t cooperative, report that teacher to an administrator, if the administator isn’t cooperative then go to the superintendent. You will find the relief and help that you need if you persist. Most importantly, take control of your education. Don’t waste an opportunity that will not present itself again.