South Africa – Matriculants across the country are preparing to get their results this week. It is a tough time for all matriculants as they plan the rest of their lives. However, there will be those who won’t achieve their desired results and they will need to be supported in a loving and caring manner.
The Independent Education Board (IBE) released their results today announcing the 2022 matric class achieved a 98.42% pass rate. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) will release their results on Thursday. Many are nervous, anxious and even terrified to get their results as they feel these results will determine the outcome of their life. There will be those who will be disappointed in their results and lifting their spirits depends on the relationship they have with their parents, said Claudie Munyai, Educational Psychologist.
“One thing that is very important is the relationship a parent has with their child. Is it one that is supportive? Is it one that helps them to grow and become their best self so that even if they don’t achieve the best they wish to achieve at this point, there is an opportunity for them to try again. These are the learners we would like to encourage and say you might have not made it this time or at the level you wanted to, however there is always an opportunity to try again.”
Building the confidence of a learner
If one does not achieve the results they want, they can often become depressed and feel like a failure. This can only lead a child down a terrible path. Therefore, It is important to build a child’s confidence and let them know failure is just a stepping stone to success. Such practices must start from the home, explained Munyai.
“Starting from the home environment. Starting to build the confidence of a learner or a child to say you did your best and you can still do your best. In every journey we stumble and fall but it is very important that we do get up because there is a goal we want to achieve.”
Learners being bullied because of their results
Another important factor in building or destroying a learner’s confidence is how they are treated by their peers. Some of their classmates might not have sweet or comforting words. They may have the opposite for them.
“Another important factor is that maybe learners are laughing at each other or there are names being thrown around. That is an essence of bullying of which the culture of the school would need to be attended to as to how do we relate to each other as learners in a school environment. We need to be sensitive to each other’s emotions especially during this time.”
While teachers are in charge of learners at school, they cannot be held entirely responsible for bullying, explained Munyai. This is an issue teachers and parents must work hand in hand to solve.
“Most of a child’s time is spent at school. However, I would like us to tread a bit carefully by putting the onus on the teachers. It is not on them. However, the teacher and the parent should be supporting one another in raising the child. The environment that is created in the school as well as the environment that is created in the home need to speak to one another in a language that is conducive for a learner to progress intellectually, socially and emotionally.”
Supporting unemployed graduate and dropouts
Some matriculants, after speaking to them and offering support, might feel giving it another go is not worth the effort. There are even those who have graduated and are unable to find jobs. They can feel very despondent about their careers and life choices, said Munyai. It is important to remind them there is support and there is hope.
“Taking time off is also very important because that is when you are able to regroup your thoughts and mind. You can then analyse what went wrong and where you are at. However, such processes are quite challenging to do when you are by yourself. So, it is very important that you find someone that you can actually speak to, to support you. A psychologist or therapist or even a councillor in your area. There are even hotlines that are call free which you can call like SADAG.”
Munyai explained that even those living in townships can get help. Many clinics are equipped to support students who are feeling depressed or are those who feel “they are in crisis mode”. Psychologists should also make themselves available to students probono during these tough and trying times when many teenagers are known to commit suicide.
There are those who will feel shy to receive support from the local community because they fear the psychologist knows them. Munyai wants these learners to know their privacy will be respected and if they find a therapist is talking about their patients, they should report them immediately. Such therapists only make it harder for people to seek help and that can be quite fatal.
Preparing learners for university life
University is an entirely different ball game compared to high school. Majority of students will be leaving their hometown to live in a different country and rightfully have many fears. How they will manage in a new city, if they will make friends, if they will be able to handle the course and so on and so forth. It is then a blessing that universities have student counselling available to them and they must make full use of it, said Munyai.
“There is a professional providing support within your institution. All institutions have been equipped with student counselling services which are free for all learners … Preparation is something that is quite fluid. You can never always be prepared for everything. That is why if you ever feel the need for support, you always need to go to someone and ask for help.”
The important thing to remember is to just keep moving forward. No matter what it is, always put one step in front of the other.
“It is a journey and with every journey there are stumbling blocks and with those stumbling blocks it’s just for you to stand up and remember where are you heading to, what is the goal you had set for yourself? This is a journey. You are on a path of your career, of your life. Those stumbling blocks always use them to get up with your hand or you step onto it with your foot. Just move forward because you have a goal you want to achieve.”