“I had such a good school experience yet I have so many complaints. School seems to work toward the average. There are mechanisms for people who are being left behind to catch up. Then often the people who are excelling aren’t pushed past average, they’re filed down rather than being encouraged to take their own personal direction.
I think the key issue behind this is that teachers are not respected and supported in our country. We just don’t value it enough as a discipline so the teachers that actually go above and beyond to help students find their own way are few and far between.
The system of ATARs is also problematic. It can be a classist system — public schools don’t rank nearly as highly as private schools when it comes to ATAR levels. Ranking people against one another is also very unhealthy. The other flaw is that the current system teaches you how to answer a question on a test rather than genuinely reflecting intelligence.
Then beyond high school, I think we need to empower young people with the courage to take an unexpected route. I want to understand how you can earn money and change the world without taking advantage of someone else.
Last year, s p a c e gave me hope. There were so many prolific people. It gave me a more authentic look at what it means to be an adult. How to have an impact without losing your soul.”
*Interview and write-up- s p a c e storyteller, Sian Gooden