By Munyaradzi Zindi Chikomba
One thing that has confused a lot of people concerning talent is what role should schools play when it comes to talents and the belief that once you are operating in the space you are talented in everything will be glitzy and easy. Your talent is in you not in the stuff you are taught at school. With or without school you carry a special gift in you however the process will always test your credentials and heart. Never be confused to think that you will identify your area once you reach a certain level at school.
School’s role is to provide guidance, mentorship, and direction to students not to instill or force ideas on students. Schools are areas of amplification because it teaches you how to handle, cultivate, and prosper with your talent. Teachers should play a pivotal role in the talent identification to their students because students spent most of their early childhood and early adulthood at schools. If the parents fail to identify the child’s talent, teachers and school will come in and fill the gap. The problem is that most of our teachers want to force their ideas on students and they don’t allow space for creativity and innovation which are the key components of talent.
If schools were to fully harness the talent at their disposal and allow the students to fully express not suppressing them we will be able to identify talent at the earliest opportune. The talent that is identified at the earliest stage is the talent that will have more time to be cultivated and blossom. Our biggest challenge in Africa is we have people identifying their talents at the age of forty not because they were confused but we send our children to school for the sake of just having our child following the system.
In some countries such as China, Singapore, and Japan an 18-year-old will be making new technological innovations, back home an 18-year-old may not even know what they are good at and what their talents are. School’s role is to nurture what is already there inside the student not to plant a new seed. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a school as a noun is defined as an establishment offering specialized instruction (secretarial school). As a verb, it is defined as to teach or drill in a specific knowledge or skill well-schooled in languages or to discipline or habituate to something (school oneself in patience). Schools are institutions where one is taught to use their talents professionally by adding essential skills for example Harare Polytechnic was created to teach and nurture vocations. There are also privately owned such as Trust Academy and Species College which have churned out many talents that we enjoy today. Those definitions should sink into our minds the next time we think of school.
Circumstances such as poverty, equipment, lack of career guidance may hinder us to pursue talent however we may do what is readily available whilst pursuing our talent in the background. After independence in 1980, the government introduced a very powerful program called Extra Class Education for Living where students were directed and managed in their area of specialty however such programs have been neglected and abandoned. Talent needs management and direction and school is the best medicine for that because it already has structures and courses aimed at that.
Another important aspect that schools can play is taking serious practical subjects like agriculture, Technical Graphics, and Fashion and Fabrics. Our country is in a dire state because we have concentrated more on white-collar jobs in recent years. We are lacking young people who can take up the task at hand of moving the country forward. Of course, we need managers and administrators but not everyone should be in the office so schools should broaden their curriculums to cater to the needs of our country. Currently, Zimbabwe does not need more managers and administrators, it needs young people who can be on the ground doing their own things and contributing to the nation.
What makes it so difficult for young people to pursue their talents is the environment in which they find themselves in. This has a very negative effect on the talents which the Zimbabwean Youth has, the process is gruesome and very long that many give up too soon. A lot of times I have heard that once you identify your talent you are unstoppable, you will fly and no one can stop you. That message is very correct and we can never take away anything from it however it needs contextual meaning because it may mislead many. Yes your talent is where you accelerate better than any other area, yes your talent gives you fulfillment, yes it provides comfort and it gives you freedom because you enjoy it. One thing that hasn’t been talked about is that the process and the ecosystem won’t change because you are talented.
The process is the external factors such as delays, denials, betrayals, lack of capital, and a lot of other things that are beyond your control. Doing the act is very easy and fun but the process makes it difficult because you can’t change the ethics of processing. We have to be prepared for those mishaps and setbacks because if not we will surrender to the process whilst defeating the talent in us.
What never gets tested never knows its capabilities and capacity. For you to break records and barriers you need a test hence be ready for the challenge.
Mentally we need to be strong, spiritually we need to be at the highest level and physically we need to be ready to be pushed and tested to the limits. The process will not just open the gates of success for you because you are talented. Remember you are not the only one with that special talent hence you need to prepare for the trials and tribulations that come with carrying that special gift. Those that have played team sport will tell you that if you want to defeat the opponent you frustrate and mark out of the game their star player. Same as talented individuals the process will mark you tightly because it knows your potential.
You will be tested and you will be frustrated but never be marked out of the game. The moment you submit to the process that’s the moment you accept defeat. It will be easier for you to perform at various stages but for you to get that invitation, for you to get that next dollar to pay for the stuff you need to support your talent, for you to be accepted into new territories and for you to make your big breakthrough. All those are part and parcel of the process and ecosystem you operate in, it does not take that special talent in you. The moment you start to be agitated by the setbacks that are thrown at you that’s the moment your talent grows and matures.
If you think you are talented in a certain area and you don’t get tested where everything just flows you need to reconsider if you are really in the right path because greatness and legends are made in the trial zone. This message is not aimed at throwing shade to school or teachers because they play a significant role in the development of many talents that we enjoy today. They should do more because many talents are going to waste without being identified and natured. If we could identify every talent in each individual, we can have more problems being solved because talents have the power to change the world.