August is the time for exam results. The reintroduction of exams for both A level and GCSE after the COVID pandemic means that the exams have returned after two years. The A levels results are on the 18th August 2022 and the GCSE results are on the 25th August. It is such a big day when you find out how well you have done in the exams. It reflects at least two years of hard work or maybe a lifetime of study. These exams will also reflect on how you managed to keep studying in the face of new ways of learning at home or via the computer. You have been at school for eleven or thirteen years. These results are so important for young people and what they aspire to do next.
Equally, the teachers are just as anxious for the students that they taught. They really want them to achieve their full potential. Sometimes, a badly worded question or an awkward exam paper can diminish the achievement of their students. It is entirely out of their control and frustrating for them to see greater potential than the exam results suggest. It is something we often forget; the huge influence teachers have on children’s lives. Many people have been inspired by a great teacher to work in ways they never imagined they could have. Teaching can often be overwhelmed by paperwork in planning, recording and evaluating performance that we lose sight of the gifting and vocation of teaching. To be able to change and enhance someone’s life through education is a priceless gift. As we celebrate the achievement of the exam results, we should always give thanks for the hard work of the teachers. Each year they have to rise to the challenge of shaping, forming and inspiring a new year group. It is a constant changing group of students and changing learning expectations.
Jesus formed a group of disciples around him. The word disciple means a pupil of a teacher. Jesus was himself a teacher, as you read about the disciples, you read that they got it wrong many more times than they got it right. I suspect there was not much wrong with Jesus’ teaching method! The disciples found learning hard and slow. It is often our experience when we learn something new. We think at the beginning that we will never be able to learn this. Jesus is undeterred and keeps asking the disciples difficult questions, which they keep getting wrong. But over a period of a couple of years the disciples start to grasp what Jesus is telling them. When Jesus ascends to heaven, we see the disciples take on the role of teachers and ambassadors for Jesus. They must have learnt more than they had expected and were passing the examination that life was throwing them. We need to keep learning and give thanks for teachers and looking to Jesus for our everyday lessons.