It’s wonderful this week to ‘break up’ from the term time restrictions. We always had a term break even when we were home educating so we could take a breather from education for a while. And now it’s just as welcome; no college runs, the teenager (and me) gets a break from turning out every morning, no more pressure for a while.
Because there’s a huge assignment to do over the holidays. And for the poor souls who’ve got major exams as soon as the Easter break is finished Holiday Hell isn’t the busy roads it’s the revision timetable.
They mentioned it on the BBC news this week; the terrible pressure the teenagers are put under to get the grades, necessitating hours of academic revision, stealing their opportunity to just chill for a while after the stresses of term. Driving some to tears and illness.
Is it me, or does all this seem a bit heavy?
And the other question that always springs to mind is where does it all end?
For, if to beat off the ever growing competition, will the kids be expected in forthcoming years to do more and more exams, get more grades, switch to other qualifications like the IGCSEs or IB incurring more pressure? Is this not dangerously unending?
Is no one ever going to call a halt and say; actually, it’s more important a child has a life and an innovative brain, than just becomes merely an exam-passing Zombie!
There are some attributes to a person that cannot be qualified. Things like creative thinking, social aptitude, adaptability (not testable, but essential for a working life), the ability to think in an expansive way. Things that are developed by being inventive and creative, by experience and diversity in your life. Things which make a person employable yet are sometimes not even describable, but we know they’ve got it when we see them – like the X factor in entertainment. Things that seem to be successfully gaining home educated children places at universities with just the basic number of grades, but without exam overkill.
But if school kids are too busy being pushed towards exams how are they ever going to broaden their lives enough to achieve these other essential aspects of their development?
My heart goes out to the young people who are overstressed by exam pressure. And I sometimes wonder whether this pressure is more about parental need, social snobbery and political manipulation, than it is to do with the development of a human being.
As there are many entrepreneurial human beings who manage to create successful lives without it!