Better question: Is anyone destined to fail high school for that matter?
Some students will fail high school this year. Unfortunately that is certain. Others will simply scrape through, and some will get marks their teachers are envious of.
Back to the question at hand – is anyone destined to fail? Ah… no.
Whilst it may seem painfully obvious who the students that are going to fail are, they are NOT destined to do so. (Not unless their exams start tomorrow and they haven’t started studying yet…)
If failing’s not pre-destined, what does it depend on?
While it may seem a bit reductionist, we believe the category a student falls into (failing/scraping through/true scholar) relies solely on their drive to do well.
No drive = no study = failing.
I implore you to find a student who truly wants to succeed, who is willing to put in the effort, but fails. I’d argue that there isn’t one!
My Favourite Success Story
If it seems like your teen is destined to fail high school you should find the following tale interesting…
This is a story we like to tell the students we tutor who think that they “can’t do it” or that they “suck at school”.
There was a severely dyslexic boy who went to a large high school in Auckland. In his first year he was put into the ‘O stream’ class – meaning there were 14 classes of ‘smarter’ kids than him.
Going against everything he was told, this boy decided he wanted to be a doctor. I’m sure if he told his teachers, they would have had no choice but to diplomatically damper this dream. Here was a kid completely flunking school, whose severe learning disability prevented him from anything but the most basic reading and writing.
No-one would have thought twice if he had quickly abandoned this preposterous idea, dropped out of high school, and sought a manual labour job.
But he didn’t. He persevered, struggled, and worked his way up to the ‘A class’ by his last year. He got into university, then managed to beat hundreds of other students into the medical program.
This may sound like a Hollywood movie – he ‘beat his demons’ to become an amazing student without trying. But that is most definitely not the case.
His dyslexia was so severe that right through high school and medical school he was given twice the amount of time of his peers to complete his theory exams (meaning six hour exams instead of three!). And while he didn’t get the best marks in his theory exams, his clinical work was among the best in the class.
That’s the power of drive.
Sort out drive, problem solved.
When we see that a student lacks drive and lacks reasons why they think they should try hard at school, we sort this out first. Only then can we get onto the nuts and bolts of studying.
Students need to be able to develop drive and motivation for themselves before they can start to ace their exams. Your role is to help them do this.
No-one is predestined to fail high school.
It’s all in our heads.
It’s all about drive.
Last question: What’s going to drive your teen?
Please leave a comment and share with us what drives your teen…
Image Credit: JoeInSouthernCA on Flickr