I know that some, uh hum, thirty odd years ago, I was studying hard in my bedroom in Pitlessie Village, just a few miles from my secondary school, Bell Baxter High School, in Cupar, in a wee county called Fife. I very quickly realised that I was not the brightest match in the box and that if I was to succeed in my future life, I would have to work very, very hard and more importantly I would have to find a study system that worked for me and the limitations I had personally identified in the various subjects I was studying.
Strangely enough, the subject that I found the hardest was English and those closest to me will know that in my whole life I have probably read, cover to cover, just a handful of books. Such was my inability to like this most necessary of subjects, that my parents invested in tutoring and by some minor miracle, or divine intervention, I managed to pass, with a sufficient Higher Grade, enabling me to go further on to third level education.
Little did I know that in my future careers and work life, I would need English probably more than any other subject I studied?
Despite having an almost complete hatred of the whole subject of English, I now find myself writing more and more in my everyday life and I owe a very big thank you to both my parents, for persevering and investing their time and energy in me, to ensuring I passed that most dreaded of English exams.
As those nearest to us prepare to go through the very same exam pressures, I know that we as parents must give the necessary support, encouragement and guidance to allow our children to perform to the very best of their abilities. We must become coaches and perhaps more importantly mentors so that they know they are not alone in the difficult journey they are about to embark on. As exam mentors, we need to be cognisant of the fact, that we all learn and study in different ways and our children will differ in the way they study, the way they retain information and the way they set down that information on an exam paper.
Luckily, today’s children are assessed throughout the school year and their performance is not all based around just one examination. We all know that a one-off examination will suit some children but will not necessarily suit others. The fact that children are now assessed, will bode well for future careers in the workplace, where they are continually learning and benchmarked. The ability to continually perform and improve is a hard lesson to learn but a necessary one if our children are to continually improve.
The pain and concern all our children are going through this exam time, will stand them in good stead for third level education and their future careers. The more as parents, we can relate to the fact that we too suffered, panicked and bombed some of our exams, will help them through this tough period of their lives. We must find a way of relating our own experiences back to them at the right time and in the right place.
I would wage a bet that the best bosses are in general those who are less gifted, those who found exams very hard, those who may not have a degree and those who had to find the means to get across the line.
It is hard to fail but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.