If there is one thing I have learned from my degree (Archaeology and Anthropology) it is that no one ever fits an 'ideal' type such as the 'hyper-social student' that the media presents. And so, instead of creating a breeding ground for social anxiety and even a damaging retreat into isolation, perhaps we could take a bit more time to do or see things a bit more inclusively.
Christmas - It's meant to be about family, sharing and a whole lot of food. It's a time for relaxing, when most of us have a bit of time off work or hopefully a few worry free days. But not for everyone. Specifically I'm talking about high school students; the ones with exams anyway.
I work with a leader who is sloppy: a bit disorganised, he forgets things and at times drops the ball. He is also extremely successful and admired. The thing is, his sloppiness is interpreted (accurately) as big thinking and creativity. It occurs to me that I don't know any women in senior positions who are also sloppy and successful; that bothers me.
The key to staying calm in an exam is to keep your fear in perspective. An exam can be a threat to our self-esteem. What if we don't do well? How will we feel about ourselves? What will other people say? What will the short or long term consequences be for our future?
There has been a lot of press coverage recently for independent school Heads speaking out against private tutors. The language is coded in terms of an industry of hangers-on, opportunists, as if tutoring firms were simply taking advantage of middle-class foibles, creating extra work, distraction and pressure for their pupils.