When schools get it wrong

Congratulations to Kate Winslet on her BAFTA Win 2016. In her post BAFTA Speech to the press, Kate revealed that at the age of 14 she was told by a Drama Teacher “I might do okay if I was happy to settle for the fat girl parts.”

And I thought it just happened to me. Seriously, what has fat got to do with talent and just because we’re fat, how does that equate to us not being a success in life, particularly when we have talent? Although my teachers never said I was stupid, I was left to support myself, because there was no academic support for children who struggled with learning.

Teachers and schools are not infallible. They make mistakes. It’s far easier to pull a child down, than it is to bring a child back up. Instead of teachers being objective, they’re subjective. They can also be opinionated and wrong at the same time.

Some teachers think they know about life and yet when it comes to life they know very little about how to support children emotionally. They need to be more objective in their approach to children’s mental and emotional health. They’re quick to pick us up when we’re not making the grade, or because we don’t fit in, but they don’t go far enough to show us how to change things.

It was clear throughout school that my grades were somewhat lacking and my ability to apply learning to my written work fell short of the mark and yet nothing was ever done about it. Looking back now it’s comical and yet those times were very stressful.

It’s easier for teachers to look and pass an opinion on what they think they’re looking at, than it is to work with a child and streamline their talents, if they don’t tick the boxes in the same way as a ‘normal’ child.

When those opinions have been passed, we’re left with usual doubt and insecurities on our abilities, wondering whether we will actually amount to anything. That said… we need to prove the critics wrong. To believe we can amount to something.

This blog is dedicated to the children who like me also struggled in school and who slipped through the net.

17 Feb, 2016

6 thoughts on “When schools get it wrong

  1. Awww thank you and to you!! I have to say I should have never graduated high school. I graduated not really knowing how to do fractions and because of that I couldn’t pass my maths college classes.

    Teachers really need to put the students first and work with them, than allowing them to just graduate because they don’t want to deal with the kids anymore.

    And never have I thought Kate Winslet was fat! She is so beautiful and absolutely amazing at what she does!! I love all her movies and they title her as being ‘overweight.’ That’s a head scratcher to me.

    1. Thanks Bonnie! Yes I hear you loud and clear!! However Kate Winslet looked as a child is irrelevant in my mind.

      Unfortunately for people like us who clearly get caught up in this problem through incompetent teachers. Because of my experiences, I made sure my children went on to achieve their own potentials; and am pleased to say they have.

      Schools need more enthusiastic teachers, regardless of any in-house problems we hear about, such as being underpaid and overworked, or too large a class to teach. There is no excuse for failing children.

      We now can’t change how we’ve been schooled, but we can change how we choose to deal with our children being schooled, so that history doesn’t repeat itself.

      I’m pleased to say it hasn’t.

  2. Well, schools are where it really starts when teachers aren’t willing to go out of their way to help kids who may be having a rough time!

    You may not actually be treated like you’re stupid, but you do get lost in the shuffle and are forced to fend for yourself. Things have changed since we were kids, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

    My daughter was treated very fairly in school, even with her issues, but her mother wasn’t exactly very motivated herself, so my daughter missed out on a lot of things. She needed to be encouraged to do the work she needed to do, instead of being allowed to slack off and not even really graduating high school!

    One of the things I have picked up on in recent years is to how many parents expect the schools to provide the guidance they should be giving themselves. You can’t just throw your kids to the wolves and expect them to know how to fend for themselves, if you don’t show them how.

    My siblings and I had to do this on top of not being allowed to talk about our problems. People can’t help if they don’t know what your problem is. I remember very clearly, so many times of wanting to cry for help to a caring and concerned teacher, but felt paralyzed by that code of silence that was drilled into my head!

    We definitely fell through the cracks and would have been better to have been in foster care, rather than go through the nightmare that we did. This does prove a valid point, however, that the world around us still judges people,especially children, when they have no idea of what’s really going on.

    We were treated like poor white trash by certain students and even teachers, which was the saddest part. They’re supposed to be setting an example for others to follow, so if the teachers do it, obviously the other kids are going to think it’s acceptable.

    They spend so much time talking about addressing things like bullying, when in reality they’re not doing much better than they did when I was a kid. Maybe that’s what I should focus on, to help kids in schools before the damage is done.

    I wish somebody had done that for me!

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks Randy. You have described schooling in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

      It wasn’t much better in terms of pastoral care, when my own children were in school. I do agree with you about some parents expecting schools to give their children the guidance.

      As parents it is our job to guide and support our children. I feel schools must continue to follow the same disciplines children have at home in school, in terms of manners but that doesn’t seem to happen.

      Like me Randy, it’s a shame you too had the experiences in school that you did. If your parents had have been hands on, you would have had a different life in and and out of school. You’d be telling a different story today.

      All you can do is move on now and make your own new changes.

  3. I have never met anyone who said their school got it right! I was lucky that I was an able student so did okay at school, although that was certainly more by accident than by design.

    Looking back, my high school was unbelievable. We were graded in sets of 1-8 and set 1 was tutored for the highest grade exams and the rest pretty much left to their own devices, but even then, teaching in those days was limited to students copying down what the teacher wrote on the blackboard, period.

    So it doesn’t surprise me really that schools get it wrong. There is so much more to a person than academic grades and many kids who were ‘left behind’ at my school have gone on to become successful, responsible adults.

    As for Kate Winslet being fat, I bet we all wish we look that good.

    1. Thanks, yes many children got caught up in the scenario you describe. I know a few.

      Looking at the Education league tables in the UK, there are still failing schools with children who are failing, which is all very sad, considering jobs are harder to get and universities are looking for the best students coming from school. Teachers are also teaching in subjects they’re not qualified to teach in.

      Being capable always helps, but those students still have to put in the time and effort. As you say you were capable, but you won’t be the first student to mess around in school and you won’t be the last.

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