Academic expectation and pressure? This is why it needs to stop!
Schools have a particular reputation to keep up - pass rates, high academic expectations, good behaviour, a perfect ethos and so on. Parents want their kids to go to the best universities, have high-income jobs, boast about their kid’s marks, and of course peer pressure.
And what does this result in? Failure is the worst thing imaginable, the whole school’s reputation is on their shoulders and if they don’t fit into it, they out. Parents being on their every case, thousands of extra lessons, and parent’s expectations of them being praised as successful all lie on their marks and academic achievements.
In conclusion: Immense pressure, stress, and anxiety for the kids. What we are telling them is; your success, future, brains, self-worth, self-esteem, and confidence all come down to your marks, school, and university success. Let’s be honest; we all know that it’s not true! Many many successful, driven, famous people, and I can go on, achieved what they have - not based purely on their year 11 Biology mark, or their spelling test, or the perfect university degree. It lied on them, on who they are as people, their personality, drive, self-belief, confidence, and support.
We are teaching them the wrong morals and life lessons, and it is all on us. We are not our marks. We are not our degrees. If a learner or your child got a lower mark than the other, they are not stupid, incapable, or less than - they are individuals. You don’t have the same salary as your neighbour - and you are just as great!
We want to build our kids self-confidence, belief, self-acceptance, perseverance, that failing is part of the process, that they are so capable, bright, and brilliant. And how do we do that?
We support, we guide, we accept, we show them just to try, and they will learn (I preach this to the learners), it’s okay to get it wrong because you will only go higher, we love them unconditionally, and they are more than just their success. We don’t judge them, compare, criticise for a C and not an A. No one asks you about your essay in year six or your project in year 10 - but they do test your capabilities otherwise. I am not saying learning isn’t important - I haven’t stopped for one day - it’s crucial, but what I am saying is that we don’t label our kid’s capabilities and success, on a mark. Let them be them, guide them to persevere, find what motivates them, ask how you can help, support their ups as much as their downs, and let them know they are more than good enough; for you, for their teachers, and especially for themselves.
“Mental health support for our children is all of our futures”.