Don't write people off - least of all yourself
Many of you know that I now work as a teacher in a small independent school in the UK which caters for students who have been out of school for some time for a variety of reasons including anxiety, PTSD, learning difficulties and stress. Some of our students come to us having missed 2+ years of traditional education or have patchy attendance which has affected their progress. As such, many of them have poor self-esteem, and have been metaphorically 'written-off' by some of their previous educational establishments as ineducable or lacking motivation. One such student was told that he would be lucky to get a volunteer gardening post!!
Last Friday I attended our graduation for the students who graduated from our school in 2020. The graduation was delayed from the summer due to coronavirus restrictions but it was lovely to have all the student's final exam results to celebrate with them instead.
All the student's did really well in their exams this year, which, instead of sitting in the usual way, were assessed by their teachers, supported by a mock paper and we also had to send in 2 pieces of marked work which was at the level that the teachers had judged them to be at.
What was brilliant for our students in this situation, was that many of our student's have access arrangements in place due to their learning needs, but this year's system allowed them to be assessed on their true abilities rather than a snapshot of a stressful 2-hour exam.
Well, here's one in the eye for everyone who writes off other people in negative ways. Our students this year graduated with A*s, As, Bs and double distinctions! And all are continuing with tertiary education in some form.
What was also amazing was that many of our student's had been told early on in their academic careers that they would not amount to much, and that they should tailor their goals and aspirations accordingly. And the student who was told he would struggle to find a volunteer gardening placement is currently now at university studying osteopathy.
So NEVER write people off - especially if you don't really understand their difficulties or their journey. It's only a case of finding what they are good at and supporting them with that, and then they will shine.
Of course, this piece of advice can also be aimed at ourselves. Many of us write ourselves off as 'useless' or 'not worthy' or just 'not good enough', often before we have even started.
Many of us tell ourselves negative things on a daily basis, or reinforce negativity we hear about ourselves from others.
So stop it!!
If you are struggling to find out what it is you are good at, have faith. Look to the things that interest you and follow your heart and your passion, for that is where your bliss and your confidence will be found.
Remember that mistakes are part of the learning process and determination and commitment are often better indicators of success than sheer talent alone. Everyone is different, and everyone's difference is of value.
Each and every one of us is a unique and amazing individual with talents and insights to share with the world. So give yourself (and others) a pat on the back, a compliment and a kind word today, then allow yourself to be the shining light that I know you all are.
Happy Sunday all