Shane Koyczan TED Talk: “To This Day”

As a full-time education consultant, Allison Zmuda works with educators to grow ideas on how to make learning for students challenging, possible and worthy of the attempt. Over the past 19 years, Zmuda has shared curricular, assessment, and instructional ideas, shown illustrative examples, and offered practical strategies of how to get started.

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Shane Koyczan
Shane Koyczan

I first saw Shane Koyczan present to school staff in a school district right outside of Vancouver. A brilliant and colorful Canadian poet, he talks about dreams and love and rage and growing up.

This is an excerpt from a transcript of his recent TED TALK:

“‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I always thought that was an unfair question. It presupposes that we can’t be what we already are. We were kids.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a man. I wanted a registered retirement savings plan that would keep me in candy long enough to make old age sweet. When I was a kid, I wanted to shave. Now, not so much.

“When I was eight, I wanted to be a marine biologist. When I was nine, I saw the movie Jaws, and thought to myself, ‘No, thank you.’ And when I was 10, I was told that my parents left because they didn’t want me. When I was 11, I wanted to be left alone. When I was 12, I wanted to die. When I was 13, I wanted to kill a kid. When I was 14, I was asked to seriously consider a career path.

“I said, ‘I’d like to be a writer.’

“And they said, ‘Choose something realistic.’

“So I said, ‘Professional wrestler.’

“And they said, ‘Don’t be stupid.’

“See, they asked me what I wanted to be, then told me what not to be.

“And I wasn’t the only one. We were being told that we somehow must become what we are not, sacrificing what we are to inherit the masquerade of what we will be. I was being told to accept the identity that others will give me.

“And I wondered, what made my dreams so easy to dismiss?”

Watch the full TED Talk:


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