I just have different talents than you do!

11th Nov, 2020

One of the chores that the students in the talent class have to do themselves every week is to get the tables and chairs ready for their lesson and also clear them away afterwards. From day one, the students clearly like to be given some responsibilities, which they embrace. The classroom is ready in no time and with minimal guidance. They regularly amaze me and I make sure to compliment them. Today there was some commotion when the tables were being cleared and I went to see what was going on. One student shouts: “Let me do that, you are useless!” The other student answers very calmly: “I am not useless, I just have different talents than you do!”

How would you react in such a situation? Most students would probably have gotten angry or would definitely feel rejected. And to be honest; I don't know if I would have been able to respond in such an adequate way myself. I often compare myself with others and I mainly focus on the things I am not capable of doing instead of the things I am good at.

Now, it is very easy to just correct the first student, since it is not really nice of her to tell her fellow student that she is useless. But what if her behavior is fuelled by a talent that she possesses?

The first student is result orientated. She is focused on the goal, which is to clear everything away as quickly as possible. The second student is able to see the learning process and she is also more patient. If the first student would have given her the space to discover for herself how to fold the table -after some trial and error- she would have succeeded and the whole process would have gone faster next time. And of course, if the first student would have been more open to other ways (talents) of approaching things in a given situation, she might also have been more patient. We often do not give each other adequate space, because we do not yet fully understand our own talents and how they connect to others. And for whatever reason, we are often afraid to show others what our talents are and what we can do.

So when you take a close look at this situation, you see that both students have unique but different talents and that neither of them is right or wrong. Both of them matter. But how do we deal with these differences? We will continue to work on this in the coming weeks. Together we will discover how best to deal with issues like this.

If we get to know our own talents better and also learn to recognize those of others, we can complement each other and learn from each other.

In the talent class we want to offer all students an environment in which they feel safe enough to be themselves. Only in such an environment can talents emerge and have the opportunity to evolve. We would like to offer everyone this opportunity! Because “everyone just has different talents”!