What colour is your key?

Today I witnessed the excitement of the 2015 HSC results being published. I had a keen interest this year as usual as a Learning Leader and teacher but also for the first time as a parent.

The combination of the HSC results today and the aggregated ATAR which will be published tomorrow will open up many exciting opportunities for the 2015 HSC students. It will provide the key to unlock these opportunities. The media will have a field day trying to tell us how successful these keys will be for students who have had to endure a stressful year of assessments culminating in a stressful examination period geared to deliver these keys to students who may have to endure further stress finding out if their key is the right colour to unlock their dreams.

Today and tomorrow is an exciting time for most as the reality of the outcome of their sustained discipline and effort will be realised by the number delivered for the combination of their key. I was totally caught up with this excitement today as I found out how well my colleagues and students fared once the HSC results were published. I congratulated the staff who report to me for some excellent results. I was proud of my students who also did really well. I spent a lot of the day chatting with one of my students who ranked third in the State in IPT and Business Studies. I am really proud of his achievement because I know how much effort he put into his studies. He wouldn’t have achieved this result based on my instruction alone but based on the independence and love for learning that I facilitated for him, he was inspired to do the hard work to make the fantastic result possible.

As much as these results are fantastic, they only provide a transitional key to unlock opportunities as one chapter closes and new chapters are opened. There are many other keys however that are overlooked as the media concentrates on the key with the HSC/ATAR number combination.

There are many students who will feel that they have not been good enough to get a decent key. They will face scrutiny in social circles and unfavourable comparisons based on how their number matches up to others. They may have to endure patronising comments which are probably meant to make the commenter feel better about themselves than show any real care for the person who they have humiliated.

What we need to consider at this time is that there are many keys to unlock dreams and that the HSC/ATAR number combination key is just one of them. It is indeed a very significant one and one that deserves to be celebrated for its excellence and hard work done to attain it. 

I spent another significant portion of today chatting with one of my best mate educator friends. We spoke about how to measure value and whether a school adds value to a student over the course of their high school years. If value is truly added to the life of a student then they should end up with many keys to assist them to unlock their dreams. I have been lucky enough to have worked in three different schools in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and North Shore that have added value to most of the students who attended but not necessarily the HSC/ATAR number value that gets great media attention.

Students who may not have the best number key delivered from their HSC/ATAR combination may have different key values related to less tangible skills in terms of measurement. Skills such as independence, creativity, confidence, leadership, voluntary service, community service, can-do attitude, have-a-go attitude, curiosity, tinkering, peer-to-peer relationships, relationships with authority, organisational ability, practical ability, common sense, teamwork. The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme is a fantastic program for all-rounders that provides a fantastic key for adolescents. The Queen Scout award provides a similar fantastic program through the Scouts. How about our fantastic youth volunteers at Surf Lifesaving, SES, RFS, cadets, youth groups, sports organisations (participants, coaches and referees). I’m sure I’ve missed lots of other examples of how our youth are creating many keys for themselves to unlock great opportunities to carve out their own dreams. 

One thing for sure is that there are many different colour keys for many different types of school leaving students. Over the next few days take a moment or two to appreciate the value of the person who has just finished their HSC. Think about the fact that the colour of their key may be different to the media-hyped HSC/ATAR key. The person who you meet will have finished six years of high school and is most likely a well-rounded young adult about to make their mark on the world. If we believe in them, regardless of the number of their most recently achieved key, then society will benefit from the well rounded skills that their school has encouraged them to develop through the guidance of the teachers who have nurtured them on their high school journey.

What colour is their key?

One response to “What colour is your key?

  1. Reminds me of something George Couros wrote in his book – “When students graduate, many of them are good at one thing: school. They have mastered rubrics, they know how to ace the test, and they have figured out how to work within specific parameters. But the world is not a set of rubrics!”

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