Embracing the individual

My son is definitely not a conformist (where did he get that from?). His first term of reception he spent whole days in the office, was escorted by the principal, had notes home, was kicked out of class. He reads novels on his own and doesn’t like colouring in. He is fascinated by science and has great fine motor skills when playing lego, but not when writing with a pencil.

As a high school teacher, I see students at the end of the their schooling who have miraculously survived being told they are constant trouble makers that don’t follow rules, don’t fit in and can’t sit still. When did we stop embracing the individual? Why do phrases like inclusion and valuing the individual appear on our mission and values but not in practice in class? How have troubled or misunderstood students been let down by the educational system?

Schools value conformity over effective and passionate learners. I hope my son never conforms – as much as a struggle that will make the rest of his schooling – as long as he keeps his enthusiasm, passion and curiosity for learning.

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