Raising the Bar

Arthur looked at the bar. His teacher had been raising the bar for a few weeks now. She had to. Arthur knew that. But the height of the bar was starting to worry him, because Arthur was short, and the bar was getting very high. He had tried to jump over. Honestly he had. But everyone else here was a year older than him. The others were quite a bit taller, so that meant they could get over the bar more easily. Arthur sat there, chewing at his nails.

Arthur’s teacher came over to him.

“Don’t worry, Arthur,” she said. She heaved a heavy sigh, like she was a bit sad about something. “The bar is pretty high for you at the moment,” she said, “but you are gradually making your way towards a time when you will be able to jump it. I still believe in you, even if you can’t do it yet. Don’t worry about it.” She smiled at him.

Arthur didn’t really know what his teacher meant, but he kind of understood what her sigh had been about. Arthur’s teacher put a hand on his shoulder as she spoke. It felt warm on Arthur’s shoulder and made him feel a bit less bad. Yes, Arthur thought, I might not know all my KS2 spellings, but my teacher still cares about me if I don’t.

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2 Responses to Raising the Bar

  1. Beautifully written Sue.So many reports published about the worrying increase in our society of anxiety in children,often on the same day plans are released for increased testing.Nobody at the top seems to realise there is a possible link.Perhaps if Health and Education communicated occasionally?!Sorry must have nodded off a bit there-that was clearly a dream..

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  2. I can’t help but wondering, would it help if testing was more common, but less strongly weighted? That is, currently in the UK there is a huge weight on the standardized tests, even from year 6. In contrast, when I grew up in Canada, there was no standardized testing in my school (at all!). Once we reached high school we had regular, often weekly, tests in subjects like math, science, english, but each test was quite small and counted for only a tiny portion of the overall assessment (but they were helpful in showing what you had learned of the subject for that period). In addition, we had two larger exams per year (at the end of each term) and they tended to count only about 30% of the final mark each. Overall then, while there was still pressure, it was nowhere near what I would imagine the pressure over SATS and GCSEs to be (depsite, from my personal experience tutoring GCSE sciences, that the tests were of similar difficulty).

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