The Greatness Within You

Mark Richards | Director of Learning and Innovation

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.  Every nuanced moment of a school day our students overcome challenges and solve problems.  They have to build new relationships and repair broken ones.  They discover new knowledge and apply ideas to new situations.

Sometimes they will struggle, as we all have at some point.  When I was in school I was terrible at handwriting, grammar and spelling.  My teacher at the time, let us call him Mr Pink, told me I would never be able to pass an examination as “only a goggle-eyed idiot could read your writing”.  It is a legacy that still haunts me to this day.  As a result, I hid my writing, practised for hours on end, but it did not get any better.  The following year, Mr Jenkins, one of my favourite teachers, asked me to come up and write a poem I had written on the whiteboard.  I refused and said I couldn’t. “Of course you can,” he responded encouragingly. “Young man, come up here and write up the poem so everyone can read it.”

“But I can’t,” I insisted. “Mr Pink told me I have the handwriting of a google-eyed idiot.” The rest of the class erupted in laughter. At that point, Mr Jenkins stepped out from behind his desk and looked me straight in the eye. “Don’t ever say that again,” he told me firmly. “Someone else’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.”

I’ve never forgotten those words and have spent the rest of my life trying to live up to them, pursuing my goals with passion and fervour. Time and time again, thanks to that one teacher’s powerful revelation, I have tried to live up to this phrase: You have greatness within you.

As the end of the term approaches, thoughts inevitably turn to examinations and assignments.  For Year 11, these are especially important as this is their first attempt at the new QCE senior assessments.  It can be a stressful time, with extra pressures of assignment deadlines and co-curricular commitments.  As part of this it is important to remember that there is greatness within all of us, that we should strive for excellence; to be the best person we can be.  Brain research has shown that regular exercise, a healthy diet and sufficient sleep all contribute to a more efficient mind.

However, it is also important to remember that individual academic results do not define us, they are part of our education but there are so many more aspects to our lives.  A lower than expected mark is not a failure, it is an opportunity to get better, to learn from mistakes and grow.  Tenacity is one of our College values, and a vital cog in achieving success.  At SCOTS PGC College we will never forget that every student is an individual, we will always endeavour to help every child strive to aim higher, do better, be more.  It is a pleasure to be part of this journey with you.

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela