Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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Finding and Living your Passion
By Barbara Bray    September 6, 2009 -- 09:04 PM

What if you have a passion that is bigger than your life? Have you ever known a student who liked to doodle or hum but couldn't follow most directions in class?

I saw 60 minutes tonight about Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man with paranoid schizophenia who is a gifted musician. Steve Lopez, a reporter from LA Times, wrote a series of stories about Nathaniel that was turned into a movie. Then I watched the movie tonight. Read Nathaniel's story.

This made me think about all the people who live on the street. What a waste to have so many people thrown away. I can't imagine what it is like to be lost, to have a mind that is out of control, to be scared, to live for basic survival, and not knowing if you will make it through the night. Someone with a gift like Ayers only wants to play his music but his mental illness keeps him from succeeding.

When I saw this I thought of all the children that have to sit in rows, be quiet when they want to sing, or who are told to write when all they want to do is draw. I believe all children are gifted. How do we help them find their gifts?

What Steve Lopez did was open the world to Nathaniel's gift and not cure his illness. He became his friend. The last line of the movie was that there are 90,000 homeless on the streets of Greater Los Angeles. Teachers can help each student find and live what they love, their passion. Maybe if we take time to get to know each child, their family, and community, we can save a child and hopefully, keep them off the streets.

Categories: "Gifted" "Homeless" "Nathaniel Ayers" "Steve Lopez" "La Times" "Music"

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