I can promise you, the title of this post is nothing more than a statement. No hidden meaning. In fact, it is exactly what “she” says in the beginning of her Ted Talk. She is Kate Simonds. She is, well as I stated, 17 years old from Timberline High School. As is expected from anyone giving a Ted Talk, you would imagine that at 17 she was some sort of child prodigy. She must have achieved something great, discovered something new, or defeated some unpronounceable disease. To my surprise, she did none of these things.
The title of her talk was “I’m 17”. Over the course of thirteen minutes she explained in depth what it was like to be a 17 year old on the receiving end of the adult criticism that exits when you are simply “too young” to understand. She challenges the ideal that for many conversations we must be older. Or the idea that adults simply know more from living longer. Although this may reign true in some circumstances, the idea that we are often shut off from creativity simply because we are younger, is absurd.
All in all, you will have to watch the talk in order to get the full idea of what Miss Simonds is saying. However, as I watched I began to apply her thoughts and ideas to my classroom. How powerful it would be if we returned student voice to our students. Instead of telling them their thoughts are invalid, we would begin encouraging them to share their thoughts. What a shame for us to actually learn from the students! I believe that just as Miss Simonds states, our students would begin to take interest in their learning, and actually care about their education again. The most powerful point Miss Simonds made was this, “I’m 17. I haven’t won a Nobel Peace Prize, I haven’t solved inequality, I haven’t solved poverty, I haven’t done any of the cool things that I’ve mentioned earlier. But the difference is, I know that I can. Teens, you need to believe in your voices, and adults, you need to listen.”