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How To Outwit Your Teenager

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The Height Of Great Teaching

August 12th, 2009 · No Comments


We fronted up to the school last night for my 15-year-old son’s Subject Selection For The HSC evening. It’s a big event these days as today’s generation of parents are a lot more aware of the importance of subject choice than my parents’ generation were. And that’s undoubtedly because the numbers of students sitting for the HSC has increased with each subsequent generation. So we know exactly what they’re about to go through.

I remember selecting my own HSC subjects like it was yesterday. Back then there wasn’t a subject market to inform my choices or a group of teachers to personally assist me. My son had predetermined most of his choices before we arrived at the information session, but he was undecided on a couple of subjects. The teachers standing by to provide feedback on capability helped him reach his final decision.

My son’s subject selection is so clever that I envy him: advanced english, maths, economics, business studies, legal studies, drama. How fortunate to be able to study such an amazing collection of subjects that are sensibly linked and indicate a clear preferred path for the future.

A far cry from my own choices. I entered year 11 with the following grab-bag of HSC subjects: 3-unit english, 3-unit maths, physics, biology, art. I was offered the same advice 28 years ago that my son was offered last night: choose subjects you like and subjects you are good at. I was good at the first four and really liked art.

The danger with practical subjects is that if you aren’t skilled by year 10 then it’s unlikely that you will develop those skills before the final HSC assessment two years later. An extra piece of advice offered to my son and his cohort that managed to escape my career advisors.

Hence my son’s uncertainty about choosing drama. But ten minutes with his year 10 drama teacher and he had signed on for another two years.

“Yes of course you should take drama, no question,” his teacher shared without hesitation.

My son started to glow.

“The great thing about you is that you listen and take on board all feedback. You would make an ideal HSC candidate for drama.”

As we walked away from my vote for the world’s best teacher, I noticed my son had grown a few centimetres taller. Great teachers will do that to you.


Tags: Education · Motivation · Self-esteem

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