Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects countless people, but it was rarely understood a few decades ago. For Anthony Hamilton, school was a nightmare while he struggled to learn. Instead of being a place for education, Anthony just saw school as a way to get a free lunch, because he was mistakenly placed in classes for mentally challenged students.
At the age of 13, Anthony could not read. Because he could not read, he was unable to do worksheets and lessons for any of his other subjects besides English. However, English was definitely the class Anthony hated the most. His English teacher enjoyed calling attention to Anthony’s trouble reading, and Anthony dreaded being called on to read a paragraph out loud, because as soon as he started, his classmates would begin laughing at him.
This lead to a cycle of hatred for Anthony, which made it extremely hard for him to learn. He could not read, so school made him ignored and mocked. Because he hated school, Anthony learned less and less. According to Anthony, he the reason he did so poorly was because “the school and the teachers who didn’t encourage me, but it was also my parents who never told me to focus on my education, and it was me for giving up.”
After struggling with illiteracy and dyslexia for a while, Anthony eventually overcame it. Recently, at the age of 41, Anthony went back to Texas for a brief visit. While he was meeting up with an old friend in a bar, he saw Mr. Creech, standing alone at the bar to order a drink. Anthony went over to his old teacher and paid for his drink. Once he told Mr. Creech that he was an old student named Anthony Hamilton, he could see that Mr. Creech felt ashamed of the way he used to treat his student who could not read.
Anthony told Mr. Creech that he had finally learned to read. Once this big step was reached, Anthony’s thirst for knowledge grew rapidly. He went on to become a motivational author and public speaker. So Anthony asked Mr Creech for a favor. He said, “The next time you get another Anthony Hamilton in your classroom, please teach him how to read.”
In modern times, teachers are more aware of dyslexia. But in busy classrooms taught by overburdened teachers, students with potential still end up unable to read basic things sometimes. As Anthony’s story illustrates, once a dedicated student learns to read, they can go on to achieve great things. Hopefully, if Mr. Creech has another student like Anthony, he will be able to recognize the child’s potential instead of teasing them for their shortcomings.
Anthony Hamilton now lives happily in Hayward, California. His experiences have lead him to publicly speak out in favor of changing the educational system. He has written several books, including his autobiography and a book called Shattered Lives.