By: Dr. Agbenyo.
In my early years as a medical educator, I came across some students who had failed their exams and were on the verge of being repeated because, they were branded not fit for purpose and were projected to fail the resit in 6weeks. A colleague and I took special interest in these ‘hopeless’ students and devoted time to teach, coach and mentor them. At the resit exams, they did so well that the external examiner wondered why they failed in the main exams.
🎡 Proverbial epistle
Anybody can easily teach good students but it takes good teachers to bring the best out of bad students. Similarly, it takes exceptional personalities to make the best out of things/people deemed hopeless..
🥳 Random thoughts
- What is the role of persons put in the position of trust to mould lives?
Sitting in exams board meetings is one of the challenging moments in my life because it makes me question my role as a teacher/mentor. It’s so easy to bastardise students who failed their exams as if they were braindead(in this instance, I am referring to even medical students who ought to be among the brightest from the various secondary schools). The story is similar in many other educational systems and various aspects of our lives where role models only surface as prosecutors instead of preemptive defense attorneys.
🎯 So, what really happened to change brainy students into no brainers? Did they really work for the grades that brought them into higher institution of learning or they were aided to pass? Could it be that they were forced into programmes they had no interest in and/or faced with some psychosocial challenges (like inability to pay fees, relationship gone bad, tension at home, bad company etc);could it be that there is no linkage between their programme of study and industry and, therefore,make them to lose the staying power needed to weather the educational storms?
🎯Or maybe, just maybe,could it be that teaching is done by pure theorists who have never worked in the industry before and therefore cannot stimulate the interest of the students with real life experiences in the subjects they teach( making the bright students go dull?)
🎯 Or, still, just maybe, they had very bad teachers who could not identify struggling students and mould them timeously? Could it, perhaps, be too many people in one class without the commensurate teachers making it impossible to identify struggling students? Could it also be the way teaching is done? Do we employ appropriate audiovisual, experiential aides and other varying models in catering for the varied learning needs of our students? Are all teachers equipped with the soft skills needed to be more than pure knowledge givers?
🎯 When students fail, do we do proper audit to know where the real issues are? Or as usual, the students are always at fault? When we were in the medical school, some of our teachers could boast of how difficult it was to pass their exams and they were unashamedly proud to tell us that some of us were bound to fail woefully. And my colleagues could bare me out that some of those teachers were hardly available to teach us or were so theoritical in their delivery that it was near impossible to comprehend what they taught us. Is it enough to entrust young souls in the hands of people without assessing their soft skills( and those found to lack them trained to be fit for purpose)?
🎯This contrasted sharply with the majority of our teachers who were simply great and patterned their practice with so much art, science and integrity that we were inspired to dream big and aim at achieving the impossible.
🎯Is this to suggest that if students fail, they should not be failed because bad students are always the products of bad teachers? Obviously, not. This is just trying to present a case scenario to highlight how so many people placed in the position of trust(such as parents, guardians, teachers, religious leaders,in charges, heads, etc) fail to be either good role models by their own actions/conducts or miss the opportunity to identify those who needed extra help and provide tailor-made support for them but suddenly spring up to castigate the very souls they had all the chance in the world to have moulded timeously and appropriately into great cohorts.
🎯There are so many dangerously hopeless people around who are the very creation of failed role models. So are many great, disciplined, hardworking, compassionate and persons whose became who they are because of the positive influence of great role models.
🎯Have we been at the receiving end of either wonderful or terrible role models before? How did it make us feel? Are we in a position to provide modelling/mentoring roles to others now? How are we performing?
🕯️ Serenity 💡
There is nothing as beautiful as hearing those who encountered us honestly saying: Thank you for being someone I could look up to and learn from. I am who I am because of you. May this be our testimony. Amen