Waiting for the Universe …

bikesSometimes things just seem so unfair. When my little daughters used to compete in Irish River-dancing, I can remember one particular occasion where middle daughter gave it her all. She wasn’t being favoured by the judge in this competition but she took it on the chin, and didn’t give up.

She changed her hair style, altered her costume, and as a final resort, re-choreographed her whole dance to the hardest, most complicated hard-sole steps she could muster. She worked in all sorts of flurrys and arm movements, head movements and pointed her little toes as hard as she could. She worked behind the scenes, practicing and performed her utmost. It did no good. I heard a few mumblings from her  “…..she over-crossed her korus ….. leap-beat-beats were crooked … blind judge…” and although I could see her frustration, she held it together.

Littlest daughter however was having a great competition. At the end of the competition the really big winners were called out “Most entertaining” cup ….. went to my littlest daughter. HUGE CUP at least 4 foot tall – bigger than her! WOW! Middle daughter still held it together.

Then it was time to go home. As soon as we were in the van and the doors were shut, she let loose. Anger, frustration, disappointment …. Every emotion the little body could muster. We sympathized, acknowledged the huge effort she put in and explained that sometimes things just don’t go our way. She bore no resentment to her sister for winning one of the big ones, but it did feel that the universe was just being unfair.

Until later that week. We got a note from her school saying that she had been elected by her teachers to attend a function to receive something special, and that this was due to her diligence, character and personality. I couldn’t go, so her granddad took her and when they returned we were bowled over to find that she had been awarded a bike! A brand spanking new two-wheeler complete with helmet and tee-shirt, awarded to hardworking and deserving kids from the Variety Club. Ahh, she was at peace with the universe again. A new bike far out shone a dancing cup or little medal. She had hours of fun on that bike.

Part of our role in education must be about helping to build resilience in our students. Many of them have had many knock backs in life, had trouble learning at school and although they have the will and the motivation, so many things make success more difficult to achieve than for others. In our teaching environment we have to make sure that our students get a sense of how they are doing, are they on the right track, where are their weaknesses, what do they need to improve on and our judging must be fair and transparent.

Students must not be left to try and guess what you need in terms of an assessment, they should not be sitting an assessment with no idea if they are up to it or not, they need guidance and clear, transparent information. We can’t guarantee that everyone will get by due to sheer will of personality – they need to know the rules of the game, be privy to the game plan, and have the confidence to know that their activities and efforts will not be judged based on subjective decision-making but instead will be fair, consistent and transparent.


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One Response to “Waiting for the Universe …”

  1. bellstreetfiles Says:

    Christine I love this one! Many thanks, Jan.

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