by Hugh Ottewell
As occurs year on year, and most especially following the Easter half-term watershed when most have sat their mocks, we embark on that period when the stark reality of the impending summer formal examinations can no longer be avoided. This realisation dawns on a sizable majority of Sixth Formers and Year 11 pupils that something significant is going to have to be done if they are to get anywhere near the predictions of some two years previously, based on some form of statistical rule of thumb or a teacher’s finger-in-the-air analysis of potential.
This realisation can vary in its presentation from a relatively grown-up look at the calendar resulting in the production of a sensible revision timetable to a hitherto ne’er before witnessed, excruciating cry for help. This anguish-filled outpouring is primarily based on the realisation that what was deemed as being ‘too cool for school’ – actually knuckling down, focusing and enabling the teachers to do their job – is now recognised as being blatantly just what they should have been doing almost 18 months ago.
For external parties, the picture painted thus far is as comical to witness, as it is undeniably a reality-check for the pupil. Irrefutably, the advice from parents, tutors, teachers and even on occasion, friends, to ‘realise one’s potential’ is finally acknowledged as being helpful. Clearly, this flies in the face of the prior posture of such advice being exactly the empty sort of words from those who have lost touch with reality and who now retain no position from which to attempt to understand the real priorities of teenagers.
But wait!! All is not lost! Having lived through this annual process on multiple occasions, we, at My Language Hub (MLH), are well placed to understand pragmatically, and through experience, that there is a way to reverse this situation and redress the balance. Few teenagers will be able to see through the obscure veil of pending doom that they do have good and naturally inquisitive brains that, given the right conditions, will soak up the detail and explanation afforded them on a personal or even group level.
On numerous occasions, we have witnessed pupils, sometimes even during an initial exploratory session, indignantly explain that they wished they had been explained things in such a clear manner from the outset and how the general standard of teaching must have dropped significantly from when we at MLH were young!! Ours is not to reason why!! It would be a soft, facile and counterproductive win to point out the obvious at this stage and make our young learners feel repentant or rub their noses in their own recalcitrance.
The key to this rebirth and arising from the depths of ignorance is a recognition of the need to keep mouths firmly closed, and eyes and ears studiously open. Within a relatively short period of time, as long as there is a real desire to learn and succeed, we can guarantee that ground will be made up and benefits will undoubtedly be reaped.
Our key message here is for the parents, guardians and carers of these young individuals you have just completed a ‘Ben 10-esque’ morph into some type of monster of their own choosing! What we hope should be taken from this blog is that this is not an isolated incident that no one or few others are experiencing. As the title indicates, this is a yearly occurrence and can be viewed in a positive light; at least the teenager in question has made the realisation that something needs to be done and that there is a real desire to succeed, even if this is coming at the 10th or 11th hour.
Should the above have tweaked a nerve or been recognised as relevant to any family’s current predicament, please do not hesitate to visit our Educational Services webpage below for more details.