Discovering the Hidden Genius In All Students

Wednesday 10th period as my likeable high school health class settled in their seats, the agenda written in marker on my whiteboard (I’m a bit old school) said;

“Drawing on the role models from the worksheet DO YOU KNOW THESE PEOPLE?, their top 5 values, and their responses to the worksheet MY HIDDEN GENIUS, work with your partner to design a company that provides a service or produces a product that contributes to the world in some way, using your “hidden genius”.

I was ready; my agenda was already written, I had reserved the computer lab so my class could create websites describing their companies, and then someone said,

“Please, please Mrs. Alcott – will you take us for a walk?”, and then another student, and then another student started the chorus as I looked outside at the beautiful, beautiful sky. I thought about how often I tell them that their homework for health and PE class is to “go outside and play”. I thought about how wonderful they have been in my class each and every day, despite the fact they are scheduled for health at the end of the day, despite the fact that many of them are stressed out with – well stressed out with the demands of their young life. Quickly, I wondered, how will this be perceived by Administration – taking a classroom full of kids for a walk at the end of the day, no books, no pencils, and no desks? Also, other teachers have windows too…..what would they think?

The agenda I had on the board is the culmination of one of the most powerful lessons I have ever taught. The lesson which was created by our Fit Kids Fit Future team which helps students to uncover their “Hidden-Genius”, the reason they were put on this planet is something that inspires students and I have the privilege to teach. It’s become part of the language at our school, I can now ask a former student to remind me what their “Hidden-Genius” is and they will readily tell me with a smile.

Frankly, I might not have said, “O.K. let’s go” early in my career. But now, given the atmosphere of the class, the trust I have in these students and the topic at hand I felt good about taking these young men and women on a walk. I felt good about addressing each of them as we walked as to how their “Hidden- Genius” would help mankind, animals or the planet. I felt good about quizzing them as to the content of their website and how their businesses would work. They caught on quickly to what I was doing and took our conversation seriously as I took turns walking beside each of them.

When we arrived at the top of the hill at the end of school grounds they wanted a group photo. Proudly they stood in a group, shoulders back and posed. Ready to help make the world a better place.

As we walked together back to school, a student said, “Man, I’m glad we got to do that”. I felt good about that too.

Tammy Alcott

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