There is indeed a myth… The myth of ‘cant’ and I have long used the ‘can’t doesn’t exist’ strap line in my classes. This encourages perseverance, determination and willpower to be mustered up as it is the business of every teacher to do this if their students do not already possess these powers. Powers? Yes! These powers lead to ‘super learning strength’, lack of fear and absence of fear of failure.
There is a Christian concept and from scripture which mentions
“for mortals things seem impossible, not for God. For God all things are possible” (Matthew 10:27)
I’d like to think if we have a God-like spirit within, then we can consider the possibility of our impossibilities starting with our students. So…..
In preparation for assembly, this brings me to use the example of Jennifer Bricker, the gymnast born with no legs. That’s right, the GYMNAST born with no legs.
I think I will share with them how on leaving my secondary school, there was ONE computer being installed and we, the ‘leavers’ rushed to the single location to view this miraculous piece of technology that would assist with extended writing. Not fair! I would still need to write by hand for a longer time, this would disadvantage me in achieving… Or so I thought… But as for these students now, use of technology is not exactly scarce, information is so widely shared and available, they have (and they will shout) ” NO EXCUSES”.
Next would come the example of overcoming adversity, looking at how we can be placed into certain ‘boxes’, SEN, FSM, EAL ‘rich’, ‘poor’, Black British, White working class, ‘Freshy Indian with no English’ and once we are aware it can create a self-fulfilling prophecy of underachievement. Well in my own case, had it been around I’m certain I would have ticked the Pupil Premium box and some but today I represent only a tip of what can be achieved. No matter the label you may have, have ‘NO EXCUSES’.
Incidentally, on the subject of the pupil premium, only last week I was asked by a colleague about what to say “if an inspector asks what we are doing for our pupil premium students”. It seems that although the government has set this priority in their agenda, there is a mismatch with how teachers view this. Perhaps because it is a ‘no-brainer’ for some teachers, we should all just be doing everything we can to ensure disadvantage means ‘NO EXCUSES’ in how we prepare, encourage, uplift, confidence-build and motivate our young people, because that’s what teachers do. Alternatively, and frightfully, it may be because some teachers, do not realise the mission, the moral imperative to achieve this and so they feel they need to do something ‘additional’ or ‘extra-specific’ for the pupil premium. I am here to tell you that if you are not meeting their needs in everything you say or do anyway, then you are not doing right by all the young people. Pupil premium or not.
Back to my assembly then, I will reveal finally, the inspiring video of Jennifer Bricker’s story which I’ve included here. I used to dislike assemblies but I suppose after having delivered ‘a few’, I’m really looking forward to delivering this one.