We have worked with bad students since 2010. It is rewarding work, exciting and full of surprises! A bit like letting genies out of their bottles ...
Now, here's what happened in the summer of 2021. During the pandemic, we saw that family partnerships can't always create the chances a kid needs. We decided to think bigger. So we sent out a survey to the community:
How do you feel about bad students, underachievers and other troublesome adolescents? Have you been struggling too, do you have "failure experience"? Would you be prepared to give advice, practical help, a job even? And: Would you tell us your own story?
Very soon, hundreds, then thousands of highly emotional stories started to pour into our mailbox. They were tales of life's many missed opportunities, of fateful misunderstandings and unfair judgements, of humiliation in front of the class and dreaded punishments at home, of feeling lonely, an outcast and a loser.
Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles even, wrote about their recollections of failure in school. A depressingly high percentage of their memories is characterized by discouragement and ridicule, by a heartbreaking inability to deal with the weaknesses and inadequacies of adolescents. And yet, the upshot is: There is tremendous support and empathy from women and men who also failed at some point. Or know and love someone who failed. A sibling perhaps, a dear friend, their own child. Our survey triggered an overwhelming outburst of emotion and solidarity from the entire community. Quite clearly, we can do better now.