My students are aged between 11 and 18. The greatest compliment I can pay to a student’s character in the staff room is “you could hire him tomorrow,” but it is pretty rare that you can say that. There is an absence of nous. Some students can get right through the system looking great on paper and it just doesn’t translate into purpose and the ability to work with others.
I do wonder if the focus on “getting my C” (they call it this before they get it) actually acts as a barrier to building strong character traits.
I think parents try hard, schools try hard and maybe we as a society are just trying too hard for the kids, in place of them trying. The message in a lot of cases is that it doesn’t matter; someone will just nudge them over the line in the end.
We have to be willing to let them fail and teach them how to wear that failure lightly, with good grace. It isn’t going to happen though, at least not in the short term – and the stakes just keep getting higher.
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