Last week was the last week of Term 1 here in Western Australia. This means teachers worrying about children who have not reached desired levels in various subject areas. It also means anxious parents who get told comments like, “He’s not there yet.”

What does this really mean? The child I have in mind here has struggled with literacy skills for 5 years . He took longer to develop phonological awareness and start reading. Unfortunately for Jamie, (not his real name); his school did not use a synthetic phonics program so he lacked tools to begin his literacy journey.

I now have him on a strong phonics and individualised literacy program and he IS making progress. As Jamie also has HUGE self-esteem issues and is regularly bullied, paying attention in class is difficulty for him. He has told me he is terrified of play-times! I am helping him become more resilient but WHY should this happen? He is called, “Veggie,” because he struggles, tripped up, has his lunch stolen most days and  last week was told to , “toughen up!”

His mother came to me crying last week. His teacher had told her “He’s not THERE yet and I am not sure he will ever be!”

My point is- where is this mythical THERE?

Why must we all go there at the same time?

Why can’t we go somewhere else first or follow a different pathway?

Why must we treat kids like robotic machines who have not achieved the correct speeds, skills etc?

Why do we still accept ANY bullying in our schools?

I rejoice in my kids who are not THERE! They are somewhere else instead and they teach me more than I teach them. Of course I work to improve their literacy and maths but I know there are many paths to get there and we don’t want literacy clones- we want thinking, feeling REAL chilldren with all their gifts, failings and differences.

Let’s celebrate EVERY CHILD and their amazing potential and open our hearts and brains to the possibility we may actually be wrong. That failing child might actually be a creative genius who needs a different approach.

Jamie is! He is already a gifted artist and poet and yet not honoured for these skills!

Please email me direct at victoricarlton@iinet.net.au if your child needs some help to find their learning pathway.  As part of my very different educational assessments, I assess learning style and look for strengths as well as weaknesses.

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