Are examination results great revealers? For both Teens & Parents?
When GCSE and IGCSE results come out and students do not get the anticipated grades, concern starts to rise, leading many times to acute disappointment which may stretch into prolonged anxiety for the future and for what the next steps are for each teenager. It can also lead to internal anger and to questions like ‘how come I received a C when in my school’s internal exams I got an A?’, ‘why hasn’t my school prepared me adequately for this examination?’, ‘do my teachers know enough about this examination?’….and so on.
Talking to 16 year-olds who received their GCSE/IGCSE results yesterday, 24th August 2023,
I got the overall picture of disappointment and questioning, in subjects where they did not do as well as expected.
Something they all do as soon as they hear of their grades, is start calling or talking to their peers to check what everyone else got. If most didn’t do well either, that alleviates a bit that pinch of pain and the feeling of wondering what went wrong or worse, ‘what did I not do so well?’. Parents get concerned too and begin looking at statistics of the results across…
I have seen this ‘movie’ play over and over again for years.
- When their children’s grades fall, parents get alerted. And they start to investigate. And they ask for professional help.
- If their child brings in good grades, parents are at ease. They believe that everything is fine and they are happy with the school and the system. They don’t usually wonder whether their child is well overall, if they have other needs, if they are doing what they do with heart and enjoyment or if they just conform to what is expected of them.
What a myth it is that ‘top’ or very good students, are overall happy young people!
In my long engagement these past 25 years in coaching & counselling thousands of teens and young adults, I have witnessed also high achievers agonizing and feeling like failures, when instead of an expected ‘A*’, they receive just an ‘A’!! Or if out of 20, they get an 18! Or if they don’t get 20/20 in every subject, they feel definitely not good enough!
I have seen top students on whom their school and parents lay high expectations, feel under so much pressure, that in the end they underperform/receive lower grades, are ‘forced’ (so they think), to attend academic institutions that are perceived lower in rank (rankings are another story) and they feel like they really messed up. And they have not even started their life!
As I said in the recent article I wrote on A ‘levels (you can read more on that here),
there is this huge tendency in our societies (and we know that in Cyprus is a big one), to strongly associate grades, with a person’s overall worth and their possibilities of actually ‘making it’ in life. The belief is so deeply rooted within everyone, that from the time teens start preparing for exams & receiving grades, a wide-bound fear spreads across their little community, that if they don’t do well, no university will accept them and their future is doomed!
Experiencing these scenarios for so long and being a firm advocate that we are NOT just our examination results, that our school performance is NOT the only thing that represents us as humans and believing strongly that every person brings along their own talents and gifts, is why I have passionately been supporting the youth; for more than 2 decades now.
This is my ‘why’ behind the Building Confidence & Self Awareness programs that I have designed and keep developing over the years, that aim to empower teens & young adults and help them gain that much needed self-awareness. An awareness that will have them see who they truly are, what is important to them, acknowledge both their strong points and natural talents, while embracing their limitations and, support them to make the right choices for their studies and career path thereafter.
If those muscles of what we call ‘self-confidence’, ‘self-awareness’, ‘knowing my personal value’, are worked on, stretched, developed early on, then over those sensitive and subtle years of teenage hood, these teens will NOT suffer. Will not feel like all is lost because of a ‘C’ or a ‘D’. They will not feel that they are worthless. I promise you that.
If you want to talk, find out more about my programs and how I could support you and your teenage/young adult child, then get in touch. I will be happy to serve you.