World Teachers' Day 2018
Everyone is good at something
After almost completing a year’s internship in communications with the General Teaching Council for Scotland and graduating from university last year (having begun my studies straight from school), I often find myself thinking about my own experiences of education.
For me, secondary school was quite difficult and stressful, so my more positive memories of school come from being in primary school. I was lucky in the sense that I never needed to move classes or change schools. I was encouraged by one of my teachers to pursue creative writing as this was something I enjoyed, rather than subjects like maths, which I found extremely difficult.
One important memory I have from my primary school experience, however, was sitting in an assembly (cross-legged in the main hall) which was being led by the Deputy Headteacher, Mr Grant.
He shared a story in which a pupil from the school had come to his office for advice. Mr Grant explained that the pupil was upset because he felt that he wasn’t good at anything, and that everyone else in his class was good at something, apart from him.
“I told him that everybody is good at something,” Mr Grant explained, “And that he wouldn’t leave my office until we found something that he was good at!”
Mr Grant then continued the story by explaining that he looked through the pupil’s files to find something that he excelled at.
“It didn’t take me long at all; straight away I found something that he is good at… he is good at being good!” Mr Grant told the whole school that in every report card this pupil had ever received, all of his teachers had commented on how he was polite, friendly, well-behaved, kind and helpful towards all the staff and pupils in his class.
The assembly ended with the pupil standing up and receiving a round of applause from everyone at the school, and Mr Grant finally saying: “Everyone is good at something, even if they don’t think they are.”
After finishing school, graduating university and starting my internship, this sentiment has stuck with me. The importance of teachers encouraging all pupils to feel exceptional and ‘good’ at something is invaluable. It layers the foundations for pupils to pursue whatever they choose after they have completed school, and builds the future workforce.
The teaching profession leads to all professions through encouraging all pupils, regardless of academic or physical ability, to praise others for what they are good at, and to recognise in ourselves what we consider to be our own assets.
This year, World Teachers’ Day lands on Friday 5 October 2018. It is important to remember teachers who have impacted our own lives and to recognise that everyone is good at something, even if they don’t know it yet.