It happened in 2006, but the significance of it has left a lasting impression on my brain: Class four pupils of a school were tasked to write an imaginative story. After the test, our teacher called for me from the back of the class, where he was marking our scripts. My heart skipped a beat. When I reached where he sat, he asked 'Did you look into any book?' 'No', I said.
He did not probe further because the prisonlike supervision during the test and where I sat in the class, I believe convinced him every word on that sheet of paper came from my imagination.
With my small frame, the front desk on every row could be my habitat, so I occupied one.
That was the first hint that I could write.
In class five, we were given a similar exercise. Again, my writing got mentioned. This time the acknowledgement was not silent but remarks akin to mockery because of the thoughts expressed in the essay. They couldn't believe the thoughts, I guess.
They were more intuned with the form of the message but not the substance and clearly were blind to my ability.
This has got me thinking about our educational system, especially our teachers. True, they are doing their best regardless of their poor conditions of service. A low salary being at the top.
But I want to ask a question. Do they have the insight to sight a talent that is not as obvious as our underdeveloped footballers, athletes and musicians?
Because the teacher teaches the future president, banker, writer, doctor, singer, rapper, sculptor, entrepreneur, architect and the like, his ability to identify the qualities of these people while they are in school is enormous.
But do our teachers even know how to identify and harness these qualities?
Memorise what you are thought and pass your exam is the unimplied principle underlining our education.
By dint of luck I stumbled on my strength and joy. But a lot of my friends and those I don't know are struggling to find feet not to talk of fulfillment. All because of a flawed educational system.
A critical part of teaching is to unearth the gems in the minds of those being thought. Anything below that needs serious attention.
Although pupils and students spend more time in school, that does not mean parents should abondon their responsiblity to teachers.
Parents must be alert to notice and help develop the inherent abilities of their children.
A writer said and I agree with her, that 'everybody is talented because everybody who is human has something to express' [Brenda Ueland].
If we all find our voice envy and greed will subside and corruption will reduce because when people are fulfilled because of what they do money has little influence on them.
Another writer profoundly says 'the person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it' [Johann Wolfgang von Goethe].
Let's consciously develop the talents of our young and we create a happy society unknowingly.
I end with a quote from Roy T. Bennett to you: 'You are unique. You have different talents and abilities. You don’t have to always follow in the footsteps of others. And most important, you should always remind yourself that you don't have to do what everyone else is doing and have a responsibility to develop the talents you have been given.'
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