Teachers are talent scouts

Sometimes the talent I see in a student leaves me breathless and sometimes envious. Yesterday one such student was almost finished with her eighth grade portfolio but needed 2 more photos for her photo essay. She ran outside to take 2 pictures. in one, she sat down on the ground and got a picture of her boots and in another, she took a picture of a pencil on a bench with students in a blurry background. Both were taken on her ipad and I doubt she even thought about it. She's just talented that way - she sees the world differently - in beautiful colors, images, and drawings that take your breath away. She is talent embodied.

Yet, I wonder what would happen if she weren't allowed to take pictures, draw, and share her talent as part of what she does in school? Her breathless talent could never breathe in school. Earlier this year, she drew the school mascot on a football that was signed by the players and sold for over $100 at a silent auction.

We simply must allow room for talents and abilities like hers to breathe and move among us. Right now I can name 3 gifted photographers, and incredibly talented videographer, a musical genius at remixing music and another several students who are magic on film - things many schools don't even broach.

Are we able to incorporate these talents? Do we have ways to recognize and encourage such things?

She looked at me this week and thanked me for allowing her to draw her coverpage, to hand draw her cartoon (instead of using the computerized cartoon maker) and to share her talents. She's thanking me? I'm thanking her for just being alive.

I feel that way about all of these beautiful flowers that surround me like an English flower garden.

So many students have talents. It is my personal goal to be able to tell each and every student something that student does uniquely well by the end of the semester. This isn't about assessing or grading but about helping show each student a glimpse into his or her own uniqueness and talent.

Spotting talent and helping students see their own gift is one of those things that makes teaching so intoxicating to me. I get to do this? I am a talent scout. Are you?

- Written on my iPad using Blog Press by Vicki Davis, author, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds

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