Education – it is about each individual journey

Education – it is about each individual journey

After a week of exam results across Scotland and England for lots of students, it has been an emotional week for many.

From a tutoring perspective, I always find exam results day really stressful as I wait to hear how all my students have done in each of their subjects. Of course, there are always those who do not quite manage to achieve what they had hoped as well as those who ace all of their exams. To help maintain a level of empathy with my students, I decided to sit 3 Higher subjects in 2013/14. Then, in the aftermath of the disastrous SQA Higher Maths Exam 2015, I offered to sit the exam alongside some of my students in 2015/16. So, this time last year I too had just received results. However, I have found this years result the most difficult yet.

It isn’t because I have substantially more students than before and it isn’t as though I’m not used to it after all these years. However, as I progress through my PhD thesis and undertake research projects in the different disciplines I’m involved in, I’ve realised how hard it is for our young people to feel like they are ‘not on the right path’.

The recent #nowrongpath campaign encapsulated the main underpinning of my thoughts. You may not get to where you want to be straight from school, however you will get there – if you are willing to put the hard work and determination in.

Tonight, I’ve heard that one of my tutoring students has been accepted onto their chosen course at university. I’m proud of all that my students achieve based upon their respective aims. This seems particularly special as it is a student who I ‘ve tutored for a very long time. Written off by teachers during the early stage of secondary school on the basis of disruptive behaviour, the background of which was something no young person should have to suffer. However, few took the opportunity to find out what the circumstances were before condemning the student to the ‘unteachable’ pile.

Let’s be honest, this pile should never exist. In Scotland we have the GIRFEC model which means we should Get It Right For Every Child. However, I can’t help but feel that often a spirit of negativity and an inability to see the best in each individual can really affect a young person’s future. This shouldn’t happen and we must do more to prevent young people becoming encapsulated in a downward spiral of inability merely because they go through a difficult time.

Working hard over a long time, having people who believed that the end goal was possible and supporting learning through positivity and determination has helped another student achieve what they have always wanted. Without that support of family, friends and others – this young person would not be where they are today. It is so important that we have an open dialogue with our young people and ensure that they know they have options in life, and different ways of achieving them – if plan A doesn’t work, then there is always plan B, C, D…

I’m a firm believer in it only taking one person to believe in you for you to be able to achieve what you are willing to work hard for.

Today I feel really proud that this wonderful student had the support to make sure their  academic potential was reached as well as becoming the amazing person they now are.

Whether you get straight A’s or go through several different routes prior to reaching your chosen career path – you will get there and there are people to help you – just ask! You are never too old to learn!

Hard work and determination really does pay off – I promise!

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