Sunday, 19 January 2014

This is how I remember school in the 60's. What went wrong?

How long ago did we stop telling our kids the truth? It must be at least 40 years ago, because those same kids our now running our education system in the UK. When you understand that, you realise everything.

This is the Head Teacher's message for 2014 to the children of our local primary school. It's inspirational, mainly because it's the truth…..

As we reach the end of yet another successful year at Northcliff Primary, I would like to share a bit of wisdom that is often attributed to the famous Bill gates, but seems to come from Charles Sykes in the form of “Rules for Life for Graduates.” I have added my own take on this contemporary wisdom! Enjoy!
Excerpt from Charles Sykes
On the rules of life for graduates.
Some have said this was from Bill Gates talk to high school graduates
but probably he did not say this unless he quoted Sykes.


Life is not fair; get used to it.
We have seen our pupils tackle illness, misfortune, loss and other challenges that are really not fair – and see them grow and develop as a result. They have inspired others in big and small ways and left us with a legacy of courage and humour.


The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you
to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
We are proud of the many achievements of our pupils. Each prize giving celebrates success. But we have seen even greater things in their personal growth: things more eternal than the awards that fade with time. I want every person here to think about how much they have achieved this year – whether it was overcoming a bad habit, learning to swim or mastering a difficult concept in Maths. Look back and feel proud of your accomplishments.


You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school OR
college. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone, until you earn
Grade 7, you are starting at the bottom of the pile again, as you will time and time again through life. Arrogance is not a pretty sight and will not get you anywhere. It will prevent you from seeing opportunity and make you think that you are something that you are not. Being humble endears you to people and opens doors for growth and new possibilities.
Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.

If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He
doesn't have tenure.
In less than five years from now, our Grade 7’s will have written their final matric exams. They will be making choices that will profoundly affect the course of their lives, whether it is to smoke or not, who to love and why, to work or to study. They will by law be adults at 18 years old. Parents and teachers have to prepare them for this overwhelming responsibility. Teachers are your “bosses” for the moment and school your “workplace”. You will not always like your boss. Your boss will not always like you. While we can’t (at this stage anyway!) fire you for not doing your job, your boss in the real world can. It is at school that our young people learn how to cope with authority and develop a work ethic. Treat school as your job and success will be yours!


Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a
different word for burger flipping; they called it opportunity.
The unemployment rate in South Africa at the beginning of November this year was 25,5%. Youth unemployment has increased by 9.9 and is now standing at a staggering 42 percent. Yet many parents and children sitting in front of me here do not have realistic expectations for their children’s futures, seeing only a university degree as the way ahead. Think out of the box, be inventive, get real and work hard. That way, you will see the opportunity and make the most of it.


If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your
mistakes, learn from them.
Let me add to that – it’s not your teacher’s fault either. Nor is it your friend, or where you live, or any other excuse you can dream up. Take responsibility for your own life. Be brave enough to make mistakes and smart enough to learn from them.


Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now.
They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and
listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the
rain forest from the parasites of your parents' generation, try
"delousing" the closet in your own room.
What this is really saying is linked to Rule 6. It means that you take responsibility for your life, including the small stuff, like your room, remembering your PE clothes and doing your homework on time. It also means that you need to think about the sacrifices your parents have made. Thank them for it. And don’t expect them to get you out your trouble.


Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has
not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they'll give
you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear
the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
There are pupils some sitting here who have not passed and will be progressed to the next grade. Your friends might not know, but you know. There are even people sitting here that think that the world owes them something. You are in for a rude awakening.
However, there are a great many more who know that they have done their best, that value hard work. They know that even if they did not get a prize, they are a success. The world will work it out too, and you will find that there is a place for you to live, to earn and to be happy. Winning is seldom about getting the top mark. It is about having a winning attitude.


Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very
few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on
your own time.

Being a success means working when you are tired, meeting deadlines, coming home to do more work or chores. It means giving of your best and enjoying the rewards to come with that.

RULE 10.

Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave
the coffee shop and go to jobs.
This is a real tough one for young people. You all want to be the next pop or sports star. In the movies houses are always clean and cars don’t break down. The good guy always wins and families live happily ever after. This is not reality. There are no stunt men when you fall. But you have the ability to pick yourself up and go again. You can think on your feet and find solutions to problems. You can learn about real love, as opposed to romance. You can enjoy the satisfaction of getting your first pay check and making somebody else’s life better.

RULE 11.

Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
Actually, you need to be nice to everyone. Emails, sms’s and BBM’s get forwarded on – the nice ones and the ones you wish you had never written. People remember how you treated them long after they remember what you did. You don’t know where life is going to take you, or who you are going to work with or for. But you do know that you will grow up to do these things. 

My final words this morning are from Bob Marley: Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?
 If not, it is not too late to change it!

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