Every day on my way to work I drive by this farm that has a herd of sheep grazing in a giant field. And every time I see them, I notice the sheep are doing the same thing sheep do every day. Sure, they may move to another patch of grass or huddle in groups of five instead of four, but these creatures are following the same routine every single day. They are just being sheep.
Amongst these sheep there is a single llama. Why this sheep farm feels the need to have a llama I do not know. What I do know is that this llama stands out in stark contrast to the sheep. It does not take me more than a few seconds to locate my furry friend. And why can I find him so quickly? Yes he looks different than everyone else, but more importantly, he acts different than everyone else. While the sheep constantly have their head to the ground, chewing their grass, the llama is picking his head up and moving it in all sorts of interesting ways. He is unique. He stands out from all of the sheep.
I sometimes feel the exact way about our educational system. When I walk into a classroom, more often than not, students are lined up in rows, being directed by the teacher to complete tasks as a whole, and shooed should they try and break away from the pack.