On exam results, reasons why and ‘lines of least resistance’.


“At one point in your life you either have the thing you want or the reasons why you don’t.” Andy Roddick

GCSE results day and what a tumultuous time this is for many of our young students throughout the country. I am writing this post at 6.30am, not long after a morning tea and celebratory chat with my daughter who logged on, as many thousands will have done, to gain her GCSE results at 6am.

I am pleased for my daughter, with results that reflect an impressive level of acheivement and represent that reward after a long period of hard work.

We have discussed the merits of a re-sit and the reasons why or why not, to re-sit in this instance, just two subjects that may enhance, at a later point, university options.

All of us will have choices to make at some stage in our lives that lead us to a period of increased and sustained effort, or else that move us away from long-cherished goals and ambitions. It is the whys and why nots that confound and tempt us.

A gentleman I once knew and worked for on first leaving school, a Stud Farm manager at home with horses and the open countryside, had a ready supply of country-lore and sayings that fell alien to my young ears, yet I recall them still. ‘Taking the line of least resistance’ was one I heard many times. We might say, ‘taking the easy option’ but that line of least resistance still strikes a chord and is brought to mind today.

How many of us take the line of least resistance, the easy way out, the path that affords us the greatest comfort but the least gain? I suspect there are more than a few and I am as guilty as the next.

Do I have the early morning cup of tea and retire back to bed to reclaim a further 30 minutes sleep, or continue with work tasks that set the day straight? Some are simple choices, but others, carry far greater weight and significance in our lives.

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”

Joseph Campbell, (1904 – 1987) American Author, Teacher & Philosopher

As parents, we may pass on our wisdom and set out the case for and against confronting challenge, with the benefit of experience. As a sixteen year old, I failed my GCE ‘O’ level mathematics paper by one grade. It was my teachers who recommended a re-sit and I duly worked on and re-sat the exam to achieve a good pass. I did not appreciate it at the time, but my decisoin to enter the teaching profession several years later would have been barred to me without the required Maths ‘O’ level qualification.

The actions we take with regard the challenges that confront us, lead either to a widening of our choices and opportunities in the future or to a gradual narrowing down of our choices and opportunities.

For those of you, who like me, may be offering congratulations or commiserations throughout this long-awaited day, I offer my very best wishes and warmest regards. When the dust has settled, decisons made and ‘A’ level courses or other study weighed up, I urge you to take some time out to consider what actions need to be taken, that might redress minor or major deficits in outcomes.

Reward and success is still out there, just around the corner, a little out of sight maybe, but still in reach. It is about avoiding where possible, this ‘line of least resistance’.

“He conquers who endures.”  Persius






About HMStack

Independent Education Consultant (SEND) delivering local, regional and national services to providers within the public, private and third sector. Passionate about creating the context for positive change working with and on behalf of children, young people and their families, the conference and public policy sector and training organisations. An eclectic mix of clients includes schools and other educational settings, museums and heritage, service children and British Armed Forces support organisations and providers across the public, private and third sector. Educational writer, blogger and philosopher and aspiring screenwriter, inspired by drama and literary adaptations.

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