Erin Brockovich

Legal Investigator and Environmental Activist

In high school I was labeled the girl least likely to succeed.

I was a dyslexic. I remember so many events growing up — in grade school, being giggled at by the other kids because a teacher would say in front of the class: ‘What are you, stupid?’ That comment can change your life. It changes perception. It changes other people’s perception of you.

When I’m struggling in school, and being encouraged, ‘You need to be in special ed” — my mother was not going to have anything to do with that. She fought for me. She wouldn’t allow a label. My mom was my saving grace.

I had a learning disability, and this teacher changed my life. She very carefully said, ‘Every time we have a test, you fail it. But every time in class we discuss it, you know it.’ She said, ‘So you know what I’m going to do? See this test? You got an F.” She ripped it up and threw it in the trash. She said, ‘I’m going to give you the test right now, and I’m going to ask you the same questions.’ I knew every answer. She got out a new test:  A+.  She didn’t degrade me. She saw something was wrong. But she opened herself up to another way to present something to me that she knew I knew. What that did for my self-esteem was unbelievable.

  • Quotes excerpted from video interviews on