Brother shares valuable lesson
DO YOU wonder how people with similar experiences – same parents, same schools – can be so different and end up with very different lives?
Having spent 40 years in education, I often reflect on what causes some students to achieve and others to fall through the cracks.
What motivates me in my work is actually very close to home, and it came via a conversation I had with my brother a few years ago.
Over a coffee we ended up reminiscing about our memories of schooling in the 1960s. I was a year ahead and we went to the same schools.
I liked school, I did well both academically and socially and those experiences set me off on a path that has led me to where I am today.
My brother, on the other hand, revealed he not only “hated school” but felt like he had “failed school”.
To say I was shocked is an understatement. I never realised how profoundly those experiences of school had influenced the course of my brother’s life. Life may have been different had his experiences been similar to mine, had he a teacher who asked him why he was disengaged, had we known how unhappy he was.
The tragedy is my broth- er’s story is not uncommon. Like many young people, the one-size-fits-all system failed him.
We may have both gone to a “good” school, it wasn’t a good school for my brother.
I wished I had that discussion with my brother a long time ago but his response is what continues to drive me.
When students aren’t achieving, we as parents and educators need to ask why. Success for some students, and by implication, failure for others, is never good enough.