“Coaches are paid to win, teachers are valued for getting students into the best colleges. Less glamorous gains made along the way such as learning, wisdom, growth, confidence, dealing with failure are not given the same respect because they can’t be given a grade.” (William Zinsser in his book ‘On Writing Well’)
Speaking with a young lady while on holiday, I was surprised to hear that when she expressed her desire to be a teacher after finishing school, her teachers were somewhat disappointed. Apparently the only jobs worth pursuing are in ‘the city’ or as a lawyer or doctor. Was that the actual opinion of the teachers or was the reputation and grading of the school their main concern? How about education being about enabling young people to be more self-aware and empowering them to make choices that are right for them?
Ultimately, life is about expression. Be it our choice of words, actions, thoughts, facial expressions, hobbies, professions, humour or the clothes we choose to wear. Each of us is delightfully unique and brings to this planet what no one else can. How can the kids be happy when the very people and organisations that are meant to help and guide them to live their lives to its full potential want to put them into little boxes?
In a country like India where a score of 94% is not considered ‘good enough’ at A Levels, imagine how many young people feel highly inadequate. Consider how scandalous it would be, in this day and age, if a young lady spoke up and said that she would like to dedicate her life to having a lovely family and looking after them well. It would be amazing to see what the world would look like if each person could have the freedom to choose their path so that they could be the best they can be, not in terms of achievements by an external yardstick but finding fulfilment by their own parameters.