Recognising success and dealing with disappointment

Mr Mark Richards | Director of Learning and Innovation

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Philosopher

Motivation and success are what drive individuals in any profession.  As a College community, it is critically important that we come together to celebrate and recognise the outstanding things that our students have accomplished, both within the College and within the broader community.  Watching students grow and accomplish their goals is one of the main reasons many teachers choose to go into education, to see them flourish and thrive. The recognition of students fosters strong relationships among students, families, faculty, and the community and creates a positive school culture where students feel valued.

At SCOTS PGC College we come together every year for our Speech Day tradition to recognise and support student accomplishments.  On Friday 25 October, we will celebrate student achievement in all areas, including the sciences, maths, humanities and the elective subjects.  It is truly a wonderful occasion and I hope to see many of our College community joining with us to applaud these accomplishments.

“Don’t worry when you are not recognised, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
– Abraham Lincoln

As with any award events, there will inevitably be those who will not be officially recognised.  Learning to deal with this disappointment, to strive to come back better, stronger and more determined, is the mark of true character.  Take the Dux of the College, for example. The criteria at the College is a “student who achieves the highest results in their top five ‘authority’ subjects as defined at verification.”  Unfortunately, there can be only one winner and one runner-up, there will be many students who worked hard, achieved amazing results but did not manage to rank in the top two.   This is where the College value of tenacity is so important:

‘Challenge is inevitable. The way we rise defines our true character. Tenacity speaks to our commitment to sustained effort and hard work – our ‘never give up’ attitude.’

Disappointment is a normal, though difficult, part of growing up. How your children learn to respond to disappointment will determine its impact on their future achievement and happiness.

I know, looking at my young nine-month-old child as he chases the cat across the lounge, that at some point he is going to be disappointed that he did not catch the cat.  He may even experience the swish of claws for his troubles.  I know I will struggle to explain to him in fifteen or so years’ time, why he did not get an award when his best friend did.  However, I also know that those decisions would have gone through weeks of agonising deliberation, data crunching and many consultations.

If a child cares enough about an activity to be disappointed by not winning an award, that activity has probably been important to their development. They had probably grown and gained any number of important intrinsic benefits, including relationships and interpersonal skills.  When facing disappointment, it is important to focus on the happy memories, the lessons learned, the personal growth and skills cultivated.

Rather than the disappointment disheartening your child, you can help them use the experience to affirm their capabilities. It is our role as teachers, parents and community members to assist our students and to demonstrate that how we respond is key.  How sometimes clouds have a silver lining, they spur us on to greater achievements and that the way we rise defines our true character.

Always aiming higher.