When we say “school”, the first thing that comes to mind is “grades”.
When a little child starts school, the family asks: “How are you getting along?”, ”What are your grades?”
An IB graduate also needs to confess his results to everyone.
Results are important. They account for whether you are admitted or not to university.
The majority of our high school students boast middle school graduation certificates with honours. There are such who over their educational history have always received only the certificates with special distinctions. They worked hard to earn such honours and the best grades possible. They may be duly proud. They have practiced hard work and this training will surely prove useful.
Today, though, I wanted to commence this school year with a word of warning but also an invitation.
It is always good to seek the so called happy medium.
When we get too excited about grades, we usually tend not be excited enough about the study itself. While focussing on whether our work deserves grade “very good” or only “good” and what to do to score “excellent”, we may not pay enough attention to the problem itself, the topic of our essay or a maths problem. We do not let ourselves to delve deeper into the thesis of the essay engaging both experience and emotions. We deny ourselves the joy of exploring the topic and ascending to the ever higher levels of abstraction.
In research, it is the process that matters. Frequently, it takes us in unpredictable directions. And this is what science is about. Science – studying, inquiring, forming conclusions – should surprise us, engage our emotions, puzzle us, fill us with pride and joy.
When, instead, learning is the source of permanent stress caused by worrying whether our point or percentage result will satisfy our ambitions and ambitions of our family – our learning potential gets blocked and our effectiveness decreases. Our whole school performance gets impaired.
Many excellent, intelligent, creative and hardworking students do not attain the results they deserve because they worry too much about their grades.
You have chosen the IB programme. You have the potential and willingness to learn. You are talented and ambitious.
I plead with you – let yourselves experience the joy of learning just for the sake of learning. Enjoy experiments, scientific puzzles, writing creative essays, seeking source materials, drawing your own conclusions. You may benefit from the best educational programme in the world – the IB programme. Use it to promote your own development to the maximum. Get engaged and involved into learning and then life itself will seem to have more sense and the points and percentages you earn will exceed your expectations.
Baccalaureate results over 40 points are not scored by people who only check off the syllabuses and stick to textbooks. To attain the highest DP score, you need to run a little “wild” in your research, show courage, have your own opinion, analyse, search for the ultimate truth with involvement and dedication.
I wish all the students lots of courage and involvement in scientific research with lots and lots of fun.
I have the same wishes for the teachers – set for the young people an example of real involvement and joy of work!
All the best to you for the new school year 2018/2019!