The Iceberg Illusion
Our wonderful “Movie Under The Stars” event last weekend put on by the The Tintern Association, with significant support from the Southwood Parents Club, was a brilliant community event. I am most appreciative of the work done by all to make it happen and I know the many hundreds who attended had a terrific night. For me it was also a great opportunity to talk informally with parents and students, which I thoroughly enjoyed. In discussion with one student particularly, they remarked to me that Person X, a friend of theirs, “… always does so well on test and assignments …. and they never even do any work, Mr Fry!”.
Working with secondary students particularly, I suspect most teachers (and all parents!) will have heard this many times, sometimes said wistfully as a thought bubble and sometimes emotionally, following a disappointing result. On the day after this student spoke to me, I came across “The Iceberg Illusion” below.
Young people grow up and mature through a range of events, experiences successes and failures. As they move through school, they feel increasingly that these take place on a public stage, where their actions (and success and failures particularly) are observed and dissected. Some students are largely unconcerned or unaffected by this, while some young people feel it intensely, but what is certain is that we all feel this sometimes and adolescents feel it most.
For all of us, not just school students, the prospect of publicly working very hard at something and then not succeeding (by whatever measure is important to that person) is very challenging. So it is not surprising that young people tend to keep their effort to themselves. Seeking success requires us to risk failure and to do this publicly takes enormous confidence – something in short supply in adolescence. Often it is only the person making the effort who really knows how much of the iceberg’s “persistence, sacrifice, disappointment, good habits, failure and dedication” have been applied to achieve that ‘effortless’ success.
On that topic, as well as assisting at the Movie Night last weekend, our School, House and Co-curricular leaders, along with many other senior students, have been doing great work for the School this term. Quite likely those Assemblies, charity fundraising activities, social service initiatives and sausage sizzles have looked simply and effortlessly successful to the rest of our community but I can assure you the collective ‘iceberg attributes’ that these students have shown to bring all these things about has been very impressive, as has their community leadership! It takes a lot of work to make something look easy!
Factis non Verbis