This year has been a steep learning curve. Jumping from working on a purely 1-1 basis to working in schools let me see how things are functioning on at ground level.
I work across the spectrum of schooling, working in private schools and also secondary schools what i realised the gap couldn't be getting any wider.
In the private schools the support that the students have is incredible. However it is extremely competitive. Kids are in a constant battle in some form or another. As standards of achievement are set high, not only by the students but also the parents and the teachers.
There are different ways to achieve this.
1. Through stress, late nights and not asking for help.
2.Put pressure on the students to achieve outcomes.
3. Procrastinate, stress, ask for help when it all gets a bit to much.
4. Manage yourself, work little and often, ask for help and ensure that you can take whatever is thrown at you and keep your feet on the ground.
When this doesn't happen the fall can be extremely hard and it seems to be quite a reactive environment to solving the solution. So much focus is put on outcomes, the tools you use to achieve those outcomes have a big old impact on what way you do things going forward.
The kids also spend the majority of their waking hours working and have very little down time.
They need to be develop their ability to manage themselves better, to be able to take the rough with the smooth and not taking everything so personally. As the first time that something really challenging happens they may
be unable to deal with it mentally.
Within the secondary school i've worked at it's kind of the opposite problem, the students are from an extremely deprived area. They spend the majority of their waking hours on a games console. Most of their parents don't care, the only people that may do are the teachers. Their belief and optimism of what they are capable of doing is very low as the environment around them is thinking like that. There are constant challenges of avoiding petty theft, drunks, alcohol abuse or they might have trouble within their own family. They see school as a thing that they have to do rather than something which can be a huge stepping stone.
The care free behaviour of students is contagious, they'll mimic what others do around them ( like any school environment) . Changing the dynamics of this is a challenge. It has been done successfully in multiple schools around the world in very deprived areas.
Students at this end need to be aware of what and who is impacting them and what the long term consequences will be and if they're happy with the potential outcomes. Changing their influencers and how they think will have a significant change on the decisions they make and what they go on to do. The challenges that they have to face are greater, if and when they overcome them they will be very well equipped for future life.