By Mark Lucking, NeedToLive Marketing Project Manager
I struggled with learning which resulted in the school putting me in classes with other students who were at the same level as myself. This is how the school was structured, you had 2 top classes, 2 intermediate levels and 1 remedial class.
I would like to say the structure of the school was designed to give support to the students that struggled, which it might have been its intention, with some amazing teachers that took the time with myself and others. Unfortunately, the remedial class was made up of students who didn’t want to be at school, students that were expelled from other local schools and students that were just failing course work and tests like myself, and put in one class, known at the school as they thick group.
The school was a nightmare for me, the classes were unpleasant, and the school identified us as being idiots, a waste of time and a burden on the school. We were this regularly, so each day we would get given a book on a subject and asked to copy it. Day in and day out for 5 years. The classes got rougher throughout the year.
By year 11 the school dropped our lessons and gave us a letter saying we would not be entered for the GCSE exams unless we wanted to, but advised they were hard. While at school my classmates and me were treated like idiots and reminded by other students, and we believed it. We weren’t as good as the students in the other classes and I had accepted that.
I decided to take my GCSEs, as some lessons I was OK at, and I found the GCSEs extremely hard. I remember leaving knowing my teachers were right, I knew I failed. I remember results day, walking back into the school with dread, everyone around me excited with their parents celebrating their results. I collected mine and left, went home and opened them with my parents. I knew what the results would be, and as I unfolded the paper, my parents looked at them and then me. I looked at the results and I was right, I failed them all, the school was right, and my parents were disappointed.
I decided to go to college, I started a foundation and after the first class, I was filled with dread, I couldn’t do this, as I left, the lecturer asked to talk to me. They spoke to me for about an hour, about my concerns and worries, I told them. Over 6 months the lecturers worked with me, I discovered I was dyslexic and I had a short term memory problem, they help me to discover how to learn, and I carried on learning about myself, how I learn and take the information.
This was the biggest challenge of my life, and I loved it, the chance to learn is an amazing thing. I taught myself to read with the help of the college, the first book I read was The Shining and took over a year to finish, I retook some GCSE’s and passed, I passed my foundation course, I completed a BTEC National in Computing Science, completed 3 A levels, a Degree and now a Masters, with other courses in between.
Looking back, I don’t blame my school, I had some incredible teachers that unfortunately just saw us as a group. No one is stupid or an idiot, we all learn in different ways and the important thing to take from this is to understand how you learn, how you think and how you take information in. Talk to lectures, friends and support offices, seeking advice is never a weakness, it’s a strength that will allow you to go beyond the boundaries you set for yourself. We are only limited by what we believe, asking for support makes us limitless.