We do make a difference.Posted: May 22, 2015
Every so often we have moments that tell us why we do this.
It has been a long old year, and often it can feel like every year is. We might try and register little victories here and there but the next day brings the same level of marking and scrutiny. It’s the dawn of half term this afternoon and even though the sun it slowly rising, it’s still always darkest just before, right?
One of the saddest things about teaching can often be the fact that you work hard for 5 (or maybe 7) years with students and then send them off into the sunset with no knowledge as to what they achieve once they leave you. They talks of plans of university and grand achievements while with you, but do they get there?
The other day I received an email, forwarded from my previous school, from a former student. She wanted to reach out to me and thank me for believing in her. She always had the potential to be brilliant but lacked maybe the self-belief to see what she could do. All through Year 11 she talked about wanting to be a writer, had chosen a course in creative writing she wanted to do, had sorted out what grades she needed at GCSE and then at A level. A few days after talking to me about it, she went for a careers interview with our bought-in provider. ‘Creative writing?’ they asked of her, ‘what will you do with that?’ ‘Why not choose something with a future? I doubt you will make it as a writer, you need to be grounded’. I still remember the anger that this caused in me. She was crestfallen. How can you tell a talented (not deluded- she has true potential) student not to follow their dreams? At 16. I told her to ignore it, talked down the influence of careers advisors.
Thankfully it didn’t have too much impact. The email told me she is now doing English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham and is thinking of moving onto her Masters once she is done. I honestly feel I didn’t do much, but she was grateful and wanted to tell me about it.
We do make a difference. We don’t always see that difference but we do our part.
Is that the sun?