EDITORIAL - Grow where you are planted


With the 2016 Common Entrance Exam completed and the results having been revealed, the time has now come for students to graduate and complete the crucial transition from the primary to secondary level. 
It is hoped that at the numerous graduation ceremonies to come, the advice given to students who will start the upcoming school term in a different environment will be “grow where you are planted”.
Without a doubt, school principals, teachers and guest speakers at these graduation ceremonies will be urging students to get themselves ready for the move to a new school, by preparing both mind and body for the journey. The overarching piece of advice that should stick, however, is the need for students to make the decision to thrive and flourish in the environment in which they are placed. Students should be encouraged to buckle down and do some work, whatever their placement. 
Governor General of Barbados, His Excellency Sir Elliott Belgrave, was one who started dishing out such advice, as he delivered this message to students he visited at a public primary school only last week. Stressing that those who recently sat the 11-Plus Exam on May 3  should fully engage themselves at their new secondary schools, his direct words were, “So turn up there, get your books and get your heads down”.
On another note, it is unfortunate that every single year without fail, some parents bombard the Ministry of Education demanding a transfer from one school to another. Some may have valid reasons for such a request. Others do not. In fact, some parents fail to realise that a child’s performance throughout his/her primary school life will likely dictate the child’s allocation to X or Y school, unless some negative intervening variable is put into the mix – such as the child feeling ill or over anxious etc. Parents should therefore have a realistic expectation of where a child is likely to be allocated. If a child rarely performs well in class, does not return homework, and is only pushed into extra classes and lessons at the last minute, how can a parent reasonably expect that child to perform a miracle when he or she sits the Common Entrance Exam?
Again, the point must be reiterated that students should be embraced and encouraged to “grow where they are planted”. An unhappy, demotivated and dejected student cannot perform at his or her best. Perhaps new principals and teachers can help by looking out for said students and have a little tête-à-tête with them, so they can come to realise the opportunities that await them at their new school, even if it wasn’t their first school of choice. Such students should be encouraged to join a club, play a sport or in some other way engage in an activity that fosters school spirit and loyalty, allowing them to fit in and be a part of an educational institution that will help shape them for the future. Such persons should not be left alone to sulk and to be bullied and to basically feel inferior, because they never wanted to be there in the first place.
By encouraging students to grow where they are planted, they will realise that their lives have value and worth and who knows what positive outcomes will follow.

Barbados Advocate

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