As the month of August moves forward to its climax,certain events define it in ways that ,like the seasons,speak to me year after year.Children are seen out with their parents getting organised for the new term,and those who through the passage of time,have reached their coming of educational age,so the speak.Having attended all the mandatory classes ,they arrived at their GCSE years,those turbulent multi discipline subjects,and now await their results on Thursday.
Why,whatever they felt they did,the dye is now well and truly cast,and their results will be issued for their perusal n Thursday morning.As a parent of two grown men,I do remember those GCSE results days vividly,and they were up there with the most stressful times of life.Yes,they came and went,and my sons got their results with their cohort in their local comprehensive school.
Nowadays,the sheer breathe of subjects covered is,to me at least,quite staggering from when I did my 5 O. Levels in my Cornish school.Now,it seems like a Rugby score for our youngsters as they grapple their way through three sciences,Maths and English and at least two humanities subjects to boot.If we to think about ding these subjects ourselves today,I reckon that we might get pretty stressed in oh so many ways.
My thoughts are that exams nowadays are often preparation for more exams,and that is quite a thought.From a family of 9,I was the first and only member of my siblings to,as it was affectionately called:”Stay on at school”.
Now,with the mandated age of compulsory schooling at 18,there is a different comprehension of what school should,and must be.Yes,there are pupils who don’t seem to feel the pressure at all in their school years,but they are by far ,in the minority.As the focus is now on paying for higher education in the form of student loans,and with Universities charging thousands of pounds in tuition fees,the pressures are now on many pupils to justify attending our Red bricks and colleges following their 18th birthday.
Many of those who will receive their results on Thursday will be relieved of the burden of eleven subjects ,and will now be able to create ncentrate on just three,or,in the exceptional cases,four.As their choices in many ways,are signposts to various careers in the future,those choices can be daunting.If ,I suppose,they had a crystal ball and could see how their life might turn out,then it would be so much easier,but,alas,we don’t.Many face the decision with the backup of good parents and careers who they know will support them no matter what the outcome of Thursday.However,many don’t have that support,and face the uphill struggle of trying to navigate their future but without a compass to point them due North,
If I had my time as a parent again,there would be things that I would have done differently,but maybe not in my view of their Education because that side of it seemed to work out good.Now,that doesn’t mean I can take all the credit,because native intelligence,good school teachers,and the like are primary drivers,so I can’t take all of the credit by any means.However,I look back on my conversations with my sons,and their have been countless ones,they knew that I expected them to achieve at school.Yes,at times,they made mistakes,but all of us do that.Just like when you sail,you have to tack at times to catch the prevailing winds,so to with young people,you have to be prepared to change direction when the need arises.That ability to bend ,although extremely hard is,nonetheless,vital with young minds.
As we were all young once,that fact being an eternal truth as it were,so to,we have to understand that being a teenager isn’t a easy gig.Why,after over almost 40 years of teaching,I have never met a teenager who is completely without stress,anxiety,worry or insecurity,they just don’t exist.However,being teenagers is a part of the journey of life,and like any journey,there are good bits,not so good bits,and truly bad bits.However,it is ,as we all really know,a process.We somehow made it out of our teenage years to live our lives as best we can.Some did better than others,but ,on the whole,we made it to the self service checkout that is our lives,didn’t we?
It might surprise you,but I believe in young people,in their ability to be sensible and honest,and essentially good.Im not going to apologise for that statement,as I feel too many young get a bad press.As their results become self evident on Thursday,I believe in them,I believe that one day when they reach maturity,that they will be good members of our society,I just have that faith in them.
So,take heart,you mums and Dads,for Thursday will come and go,but your special gift that daughter or son that you gave birth too will make you proud ,will do things that you couldn’t quite do because of stuff,and you will be happy that they did those things,and the gran and grandads will be proud,the aunties and uncles will send their best wishes and life will be a time to savour.