We expect far too little of our young people. Really. Even when we know they are geniuses-in-the-making.
Our Middle School Eagles just published a Mystery Anthology, and presented two copies to the Elementary Eagles, who have been competing to see who can devour it first. Today we received this email from on of the ES students:
I have a blog called Read This! and I recently reviewed your storybook on there. I am sending you the link so if you would like to read it you can. The link is http://readthisnk.blogspot.com/
This afternoon, we found out a Middle School Eagle will have an editorial published in the Austin paper next week, as a result of her apprenticeship.
Finally, and most powerfully, today we asked our MS Eagles to “stand in the box” as they read the rough draft of their hero speeches. We even invited in a flock of Elementary Eagles as an audience, to increase the pressure.
Frankly, I didn’t expect much. It was a first draft of a difficult speech, performed by two of our more reserved Eagles, who had struggled with the assignment. The goal simply was to get them in front of an audience.
Then the first Eagle began to read, and we were all mesmerized by her words. And the the second Eagle delivered a powerful plea to save his homeland from invaders. In both cases, I promise you that anyone within earshot would have answered the calls.
Later, as I was describing the impact of the performances, one of my high powered MBA’s said: “It’s so good that you are teaching them such a critical life skill.”
But you see, we didn’t teach them anything. Each Eagle knew all along how to write and deliver a moving speech, in an original voice.
An eight year old with a blog, writing book reviews.
A twelve year old publishing an editorial in a major metropolitan newspaper.
Two moving speeches – each from a first draft.
Today, as most days, I didn’t teach at all. I learned something new.