While there are a few indicators as to whether an individual is intelligent or not, we can all be assured that a school report is certainly not one of them. As many a successful adult will tell you, their aptitude in life was often not recognised in school, in any official capacity at least, and the same can be said for John Winston Lennon.
Born in Liverpool to a working-class family, what Lennon lacked in aptitude he made up for in inherent intelligence and was able, as many musical greats are, to coast through school without truly exerting himself. In his school report, it’s easy to see that.
Lennon always struggled with a rebellious nature and he opened up to Playboy’s David Sheff in 1980 about the way people perceived him. “A part of me would like to be accepted by all facets of society and not be this loudmouthed lunatic poet/musician,” he once commented. “But I cannot be what I am not… I was the one who all the other boys’ parents—including Paul’s father—would say, ‘Keep away from him’… The parents instinctively recognised I was a troublemaker, meaning I did not conform and I would influence their children, which I did.”
Lennon freely admits that he was intent on causing mischief, wherever he went but also says that the way his family ran provided him with all the education he needed: “I did my best to disrupt every friend’s home… Partly out of envy that I didn’t have this so-called home… but I did… There were five women that were my family. Five strong, intelligent, beautiful women, five sisters. One happened to be my mother.
“[She] just couldn’t deal with life,” he continued. “She was the youngest and she had a husband who ran away to sea and the war was on and she couldn’t cope with me, and I ended up living with her elder sister. Now those women were fantastic… And that was my first feminist education… I would infiltrate the other boys’ minds. I could say, ‘Parents are not gods because I don’t live with mine and, therefore, I know.'”
It would seem that John Lennon was always destined to be a rabble-rouser and it started at a very young age. Below see the school report and enjoy just how wrong those teachers were.
French teacher: “An intelligent boy who could be very much better with a little concentration in class.”
Maths teacher: “He is certainly on the road to failure if this goes on.”
Physics teacher: “His work always lacks effort. He is content to ‘drift’ instead of using his abilities.”
Religion teacher: “Attitude in class most unsatisfactory.”
Headmaster: “He has too many wrong ambitions and his energy is too often misplaced.”