Ever had that questions posed to you?
I have and its often followed by the popular quip: “because of the holidays?”
What do the numbers say?
More often then not it’s the story behind the numbers or data that inspires me and I read such a story recently:
We were truly disadvantaged.
Despite this, our mum was determined to make sure that our situation would not be something that followed my brother and I throughout our lives and she saw our education as a key component of escaping the cycle of disadvantage.
On 11 July 2008, just after my Year 12 half-yearly exams, Mum suddenly passed away after an accident at home. The attitude that she had instilled in me and the resilience and skills that went alongside it immediately became more crucial than she ever could have imagined. We had to find a way to survive and I had to try and complete my Year 12 studies.
I know for a fact that the teachers at my school were deeply concerned about how I would cope for the remainder of the year, as many people were, myself included. It could have been all too easy for those teachers to lower their expectations of me. All too easy to preface every statement, grade or piece of feedback with: “He’s doing so well, considering…”. All too easy to say: “At least you tried”. But those teachers, they didn’t.
They gave me the extra support that I needed, but they never stopped pushing me, they never stopped expecting me to achieve like I had before. Their continued belief in my ability to overcome my challenges was crucial in making that achievement a reality.
High expectations from my teachers gave me the self-belief that I could do something great — not just considering my situation, but in absolute terms. They inspired me and they set me on the path out of disadvantage, to university, to work in scientific research and into the classroom.
The work those teachers did to support me during that incredibly stressful and turbulent time has had a lasting impact on my philosophy of teaching and how I carry myself within my school. They were caring and giving. They went beyond what was required and they were inspiring.
The whole story is worth reading on the Huffington Post.
I’m interested to read other people’s stories if they would care to share theirs. I’m busy working on mine now.