I’ve been looking back at some of my old school reports this month. It is clear that my teachers thought I had some potential. They talk a lot about the areas I need to focus on, rather than giving out much praise for what’s already been achieved. Potential is always about looking forward to what may be, rather than recognising what was and is. I find this a little unbalanced in its approach, for the patterns of the past and the state of the now are important for helping us to work out what we might become and how our journey might be supported.
The end goal (a great grade, a university place) might be wonderful, but humanly we can fail to see the patterns of an unfurling life right there in front of us. It is perhaps not surprising that the teacher I remember with most fondness is Mrs Ghent, in my third year of juniors (year 5 for you youngsters), who, once I’d done my obligatory maths/P.E. etc. always allowed me great swathes of time to write and to paint. She knew what I loved, saw the potential in it, and let me get on with it. What a shame that same creativity she recognised so early got crushed for so long by the hurry and expectations of being more academic that were to come.
Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017