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Keepin' It Realia

By Tom Wiseman

Que onda gueys?

I gotta historia to tell...

If I could change anything about my schooling it would be my attitude towards studying and learning. Believe it or not I haven't always been a diligent student, it is only since I left formal academia that I have developed such a thirst for knowledge and really gotten my Hermione Granger on.

That said, not for a second would I swap any of the great times we had for better grades. It was these times that formed friendships and taught me something about fun and happiness. Life skills that are far more necessary in day-to-day activities than, mathematics, say. Being able to count isn't that helpful, but being able to laugh is fundamental.

In a futile attempt to reign in our unruly year group the head of my 6th Form once said: "You guys must start working hard, when you leave here and try to get a job it'll be you're grades you'll remember, not all the messing around".

To that I say "sorry, Mr. Bell, but you are bang wrong!". Nevertheless, his words have stuck with me. True, I may never be able to accurately tell you how ATP is produced in the mitochondria (..I, I can), but I vividly remember some of the most fun and carefree times of my life when, on any given day, I was guaranteed a stomach ache caused by laughing ridiculously hard, and the likelihood of it developing into a laughing headache was high.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, during a BBQ with the boss I was let in on a little secret about my hiring:

Boss: I'm not being funny, man, but are grades the same in England?

twise: hahaha what do you mean, really?

Boss: I mean, your grades are pretty bad aren't they? It's just that we couldn't understand why anyone would put such bad grades on their CV.

twise: Whoa! (That's English for "stop a horse"). What on Earth are you talking about?! Did you fail to notice my double A grade for GCSE science?! I only failed Business Studies and Art! If my C & B in English was good enough for Jazzman then it's good enough for me [Jazzman was my inspirational English teacher].

Fellow Teacher: Dude, how do you fail Art?!

twise: By throwing clay and drawing crap pictures whilst ignoring the need to include "art history" in coursework!

Boss: The thing is, it was actually your bad grades that got you the job! We had over 60 applications and all of them were just telling us what they thought we wanted to hear. When your CV came in we thought "why would anyone lie about this stuff?!" It was then that we knew we were dealing with a genuine, honest person - we knew we'd found our man.

Real recognise Real, and now I'm familia.

When considering all of this another piece of advice comes to mind, the words of my Grandma: "Always do your best" she said. "That's all you can do". Give your best effort and deal with truth, honesty and reality.

Sure, I have always been a straight C student but the point is I kept it moving, kept improving, and I've always done my best.

The moral of the story is undoubtedly "keep it real."

Keep it real, and always listen to Grandma.

Positive Education Always Corrects Errors

Tom Wiseman hails from Oxford—the area, not the University—and is spending the year teaching English in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. His blog, "The Tao of Teaching," appears regularly on Gradspot.com.

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