An eager student was excited to demonstrate his new learning for the upcoming project. He had been working on a robotic, motorized vehicle for a long time. This was the moment he was waiting for.
Then he received the list which stated:
Creativity day is here. You are able to create one of the following projects:
- a paper sculpture
- a painting
- a story
The boy went to the teacher and said, "I've been creating a robotic, motorized vehicle for months. I want to share it with the class. It's very creative."
The teacher responded, "I'm sorry, it's not on the list--the list states that it has to be a paper sculpture, painting, or story."
"Because that's what the list says. I'm sorry."
Deflated the boy walked away from the teacher. He put his invention in the closet, and listened to some music. At creativity day, he watched the others share their paper sculptures, paintings, and stories as tears welled up in his eyes. He felt so demeaned and diminished--who he was, what he was passionate about, and what he loved to do were not honored in this environment. Essentially, he didn't matter.
As I think of this story, I hope that we can work against this kind of action and attitude in schools. As much as possible we must work to elevate student passion, creativity, drive, and effort in every way we can--our world depends on that. Onward.