Yesterday, my group of grade 6 and 7 Storyteller Apprentices were joined by the grade 8 classes to listen to Greek myths, stories from the Arabian Nights and First Nation tales.
11 to 14 year olds are such a baffling age group. They can swing wildly from being bored out of their gourds to electrifyingly engaged and enthusiastic.
During the first story I told, from the 1001 Arabian Nights, I asked a seemingly comatose group of grade 8 students for volunteers to portray the genii and the fisherman.
To my great surprise, most of their hands shot up in the air! I chose two amazing 14 year olds boys to help bring the story to life, both of whom had participated in the Storyvalues Storyteller Apprentice program the previous year.
When I first met these two guys 14 months ago, they were very sceptical of ‘the whole storytelling business’, shy and hesitant to perform in front of others.
Their transformation over the six months working together was truly spectacular. I was thrilled to see that it hadn’t been temporary; they performed with gusto and pride, helping to set the tone for the rest of the session.
Like in the 1001 Arabian Nights frame story of Shahrazad and the sultan, I honestly believe that stories have the power to transform and heal.
Once a storyteller apprentice, always a storyteller!
– Cheryl Thornton