John Corcoran's story sounds incredible, like a joke, but we can assure you that everything in the following lines is true. He grew up in New Mexico - USA, in a family with 5 more sisters and brothers. He graduated from high school, then university, and then in 1960 became a teacher and practiced his profession for 17 years.


He went to school hoping to learn to read. The first year he did quite well, because at that time the teachers did not have high requirements for their students. It wasn't until the second grade that students were required to be able to read, but for John, textbooks were written as if in some "dead" language. At night, John prayed to the Lord to teach him to read, even hoping for a miracle. He had hoped to find a book on his nightstand the next morning when he awoke, but this miracle did not happen.


At school, the teachers never treated John with disdain, but he became more and more oppressed by the environment and considered himself a stupid student. Thanks to the kindness that the teachers showed, they told his parents that they thought John was a very smart boy and that they had to move him to third grade. The next year and the next, the events repeated, and so John reached fifth grade without being able to read at all.


But these events made the young student hate reading. He hated everything related to school - students, teachers, textbooks. So he chose another way to survive - to go to "war". Until the 7th grade he stayed mostly in the principal's room. There he felt like a clown and like a man who was constantly chased everywhere. But that's not what John wanted. He had dreams and wanted to succeed and become a successful student, but something stopped him and prevented him from fulfilling his dreams. After becoming an 8th grader, he decided that he would no longer worry about himself and his family, so he decided to find a "gap" in the school education system by becoming a teacher!


He was an athletic boy and knew how to think, so he decided to learn the tables of multiplication and division. As a sociable boy, he always made conversation with either the best in the class or courted girls to write his homework. He could only write his name, not the whole sentence. When there was a test at school he copied from his classmates, but the story changed when he won a full sports scholarship at the university. He was scared if he could handle it because he was no longer in the classroom, and there were no homework tests. He knew classmates who always had copies of the tests and so cheated when it came time for the exam. He even changed the "methodology" of cheating every year because it happened that there were teachers from previous years in the exams.

John Corcoran as an athlete

John Corcoran as an athlete

The teacher wrote four questions on one exam and John was on the back. All the students at that time had blue books in which to solve their tests. John's classmate was sitting under the window, and when he handed out the tests, John pulled out a copy of this booklet and gave the original to his classmate under the window, hoping his "assistant" would be able to solve the tests in time. John was desperate because he had to finish school and find a decent job.


The next night, he stepped into the director's office with the idea of ​​exchanging the two books. There was a file cabinet in the study. For three consecutive nights he searched for the document until he finally called three more assistants. They managed to find a copy of the cabinet and replaced it with considerable effort. The next day, he changed into a suit and called for a locksmith to open the cabinet. He lied that there were valuable documents inside, and that John had to travel to Los Angeles the next day. When they opened the cabinet and John received a copy of the key, he found over 40 exam sheets inside. Then, with the help of his classmate, they took a copy and wrote down the correct answers. They returned the exam sheet at 5 in the morning, and John felt proud of his performance. However, conscience intervened. He humbled himself for not asking anyone to teach him how to read. He was motivated to find a good job, as his parents and teachers had taught him, and so he resorted to fraud.


After graduating from college, there was a shortage of teachers and he was offered a job. It was a shock to John - he had just escaped from the system and now has to come back as a "sentenced to death." Now, looking back in time, he thinks it was crazy to come back. But no one would think that this is where you might come across a teacher who can't read.


He taught different things - he was a teacher, a social studies teacher, discussing films with students. He had a hard time passing the tests because he did not read the names of his students but made them be named. But he always had two or three "unwitting" assistants on hand - students who could read to help him and keep his secret from others. He taught at the high school between 1961 and 1978.


Eight years after leaving work, his life takes a sudden turn. At 47, she saw on television the debate of the first lady of the United States, at the time Barbara Bush, who discussed the literacy of the elderly. That was her special cause. John first heard about older people's illiteracy and became one of those illiterate people. He desperately wanted to change his situation. He wanted someone to help him and one day, while standing in a grocery store, heard a conversation between two salespeople talking about a librarian who, through a special program, taught illiterate people to read.


So one Friday, he went to the library and met with the program director and confessed his problem to her. She was an 65 year-old woman who loved reading and didn't imagine a day without opening a book. She helped him begin his journey in the "magical world of letters." As soon as he was able to learn to write a few sentences, the first thing John wrote was a poem about his feelings. It took him seven years to master his writing. It was a long and difficult seven years, filled with crying, pain, and powerlessness because he felt weak mentally and emotionally.


Now, as an adult man, John takes it upon himself to educate others. He is committed to promoting literacy among young and old, because there is nothing more fabulous than being able to read and communicate freely with others.
She is aware that the system still drives illiterate children and teenagers from school without being able to read and write. She decides that instead of blaming teachers and parents, something can be done in the right direction and properly prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow.

John Corcoran with his granddaughter Kyle

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