The honesty of his statement startled me. He was right. For him to be able to admit that to a teacher, to me showed how true those feelings were. It so messed up that a student who comes to school, and is intelligent, feels that way about an exam we are supposed to prepare them for. It is not just failing one exam, because failing even one thing can influence beliefs we have about ourselves and who we think we are.
Why should he take a test that he is not prepared for? He did have an extra class for the test, he didn’t get individualized support, and he didn’t do any studying. So often that is what we do as a school. A kid fails a major test and we act like the issue will get better on its own. Somehow they will magically pass. As my mind starts immediately listing all the ways the school failed him, I also wonder why the student didn’t do more. Why did the student wait until THE DAY OFF to worry about passing? There were four Saturday school options, after school training, and support he could have gotten if he had asked. Is it really just the school fault? Do we hurt the student in the long run if we do not teach them to take some responsibility for this?
One thing I often ask myself is did my teachers feel this responsible when we failed there test? I know I was always the student that felt if I failed it was my fault, no one else’s. That isn’t the mindset in education much anymore. A student fails and it is what more could the teacher have done. I digress from the story I started with but I my point is, we have to find a middle ground. Schools and teacher need to prepare students for exams and react to students that do not pass, at the same time we need to TEACH students to be invested in and study for their own exams. That is a skill. Just like writing an essay or multiplying and we can help teach students to study and reflect on their progress. Naturally we all want to be successful, but one failure can set us back pretty far. As teachers we have to build up that confidence, show all kids they can be successful. We can’t expect things to change unless we work at it.