Posted on June 20, 2013
I received an email from the college the other day bemoaning the fact that George is not showing a commitment to what he wants to do when he leaves college and failing do a “Personal Statement.”
Wow, that’s all a bit grown up isn’t? As far as I can recall (It is a long time ago now) when I was seventeen I was still several years away from knowing who I was, let alone what I wanted to do. Unless someone has a set childhood dream of being a train driver or a doctor or something, it is a bit draconian to expect them to know how to map their life out at such a tender age.
Attempting to be a modern parent, I decided against the 1970’s “kick ’em up and down the stairs policy” and sat George down and had a firm discussion with him about the importance of a good education whilst it is still free at the point of delivery. I am hoping this will sink in but who knows?
I know people who are self-titled great parents who think that they set the perfect example to their kids, but the truth is that every child is different and pointing them in the direction you think is right is an individual choice that may or may not be correct. I read a book once by some soppy looking saddo called “Raising Boys” and personally speaking, I thought it was a load of old bollocks, though of course, I may be wrong; it may be the work of a parental genius.
Again, I may be wrong, but I have always tried a pretty liberal approach by allowing my two boys to develop their own perception of the world and follow their own hobbies and ideals rather than having them dictated by me. Through being at a cricket club (his choice) since he was nine, George has adapted social skills to a point where he can converse with all age groups and gain part-time employment at a cricket outlet. It is something that has developed him more than many aspects of school where he learnt my skill of being able to do just enough to sit above the dross.
To be in a position where finishing his first year at college without knowing his exact career or education path is not an issue to me really, but it appears to be at the college, where I assume they have to report and monitor the progression of their pupils, which is a good thing of course. It appears his uncertainty about whether he is going on to University or out into the working environment is an issue, but to put pressure on uncertainty is potentially damaging.
His tutor was rightly annoyed that he was the only pupil who didn’t offer a personal statement, so on Wednesday, I helped him and by the end of it, it looked really good. He has a part-time job, he has an ECB Level One Cricket Coaching Certificate and he is the opening bowler and a developing all- rounder at Oakley Cricket Club. He is not a bad lad at all and certainly employable when I compare him to people like the staff at the tyre centre I had the misfortune of visiting the other day.
Out of the four subjects he has studied in the last year the major issue has been his diminishing interest in Maths; it is a subject that he can longer see the logic in. The fact that he was good at maths in the first place is remarkable because the day someone said to me “If L is 2 what is M +Z?” was the day my brain shut down and refused to take part in counting in letters. In my opinion, people who want to count in letters are stark raving social inadequates. However, I accept we are all different.
So, after years of excelling at maths, George has hit the wall that says “No more.” It doesn’t matter what I say or do (it is no good me trying to teach him) his interest has gone and if you are not interested, you won’t achieve, so it’s best for him to bail out and concentrate on the other three subjects that he enjoys (History, Economics and Politics).
Being clever, I decided to write a letter back to the college explaining that whilst firm words had been said and George would now toe the line, there was no way that it was worth him pursuing a subject he longer saw the logic in. Trying to be witty to get the college on side, I explained that whilst maths was a great subject for some, it was often the case that mathematical geniuses with an honours degree lacked common sense and possessed the social interaction of a standard garden ant.
The reply was “Thanks’ for your insight” D. Smith, Head of Maths.
Anyway, it was sensible of the college to contact me and hopefully we are back on the right track. The Personal Statement is done and he is booking an appointment with a careers advisor today; hopefully they will offer a better service than the ones who visited my school to offer following career opportunities:
AWE Apprenticeship – I failed as I couldn’t bend a straight piece of wire into a square a rectangle and a triangle (Though it would have made a good car Ariel)
Army – As someone non-religious I didn’t fancy coming back home in a box courtesy of separating feuding Catholics and Protestants in Belfast
Barclays Bank – Black listed for fraudulently trying to go overdrawn on my Supersavers account
Dole queue – No-one taught me how to sign on
AWE Admin Assistant.
So AWE admin assistant it was then. The dullest most miserable existence possible, featuring endless hours of clock watching and being told to be quiet by the most evil woman on this planet who had undoubtedly studied at the Lady of Perpetual Post Menopause Tension College of Arts.
My suggestion to George is to get his A levels and possibly a degree which he will always be able to fall back on, then spend more hours at the cricket centre coaching kids and embark on a career doing that.
It is not often you get the chance to do something you love.