In the summer of 2015, I sat my driving test for the second time. I was 3/4 of the way through the exam when my car hit something as I was taking a left turn. And, instantly, I thought I failed. In fact, I actually told my examiner, "That's it, I failed now. You can drive me back to the test centre. I do not want to continue anymore!" But he said something that will stay with me forever.
"The test is not over yet. Keep driving."
I replied, "but I failed now so what's the point?"
"Well how do you know that? Take some deep breaths and then keep driving as if you have passed."
So I did that. I continued driving and got all the way to the test centre and waited anxiously for my result.|
"You passed", my examiner said. And I was utterly stunned. He said, "yes, you slightly nudged the curb but you drove well throughout the test. You overcame the hurdle and continued driving. You did not let one hurdle define you!"
In the schools that I have taught in, many pupils tie their self-esteem to their academic achievement. Students often say to me, "I am rubbish in Science so there is no point in studying". When I ask them why they reply "well I always do bad in Science tests" or "last year I did terribly in an end of topic test". When in reality, they may be three years or so from completing their GCSE exams.
After these conversations, I always think that as teachers we are implicitly teaching students that their self confidence in a subject or in any part of learning are tied to their their exam grades. So, before even teaching the curriculum, I have to break these misconceptions down. Therefore, I always share my driving test experience with my students in order to do so.
When you look at the grand scheme of things. One failed science exam, one knock on a curb, one wrong decision does not dictate the rest of your life. Life will always have it's challenges. There will be many exams, many challenges and decisions that you may need to make. We may not get everything right. But there will be another hurdle soon enough that you need to jump over. So don't let that your experiences define you. Keep Swimming!