September 15


Dream Student

By Henry Dingle

September 15, 2021

I just met with a dream Student

Here's his mum's profile of him:

  1. He 'hates school'
  2. He's becoming ‘The Class Clown’ (ADHD / Hyperactive) - 'School reports all say: 'he doesn’t listen', 'he doesn’t focus', 'he can’t sit still', 'he distracts everyone else'…"
  3. He does 'the bare, bare minimum' schoolwork (first time I’ve heard that adjective repeated for emphasis in this familiar parent assessment)
  4. His 'confidence is being chipped away at...'
  5. He's entering Year 10 (but really needs to re-do Year 9, so many holes in his knowledge)
  6. In Maths he's naturally very capable but doesn’t show any workings, speeds through it and makes mistakes all over the place
  7. He has a low aspiration peer group likely to bring in many potential future pitfalls and predictable temptations for him over the coming years
  8. He has no other (male) mentors or role models apart from his dad
  9. He has a worsening self image & is falling into negative self-talk- ‘I’m a bad boy’, ‘I’m rubbish at that’ etc
  10. He is increasingly seen as a problem by everyone in the family and in school 

  1. She manages everything for him (even though she knows he wants to take responsibility)
  2. She’s worried about it 'all falling apart’ for him in his GCSE years
  3. She has no idea how to rescue his academic career (they can’t change school and extra tutoring is a regular flashpoint and cause of conflict in their relationship)
  4. She feels she doesn’t know how he really is (no one else is worried because he is sociable and confident.  He doesn’t seem like a child with a problem)
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Sounds like a dream gig, right?!  Probably not for most educators...

But really, for me it is.  

All of these are signals to me that we could be a perfect match.

Confirmation of this came when I then met him, having just heard all of this from his mum.  He was nothing but awesome, as soon as he came onto the screen I could see it: he was open, friendly, intrigued, relaxed and communicative; a pleasure to be with, eyes shining with a natural interest and brightness and brimming with obvious youthful potency and energy and a blatantly untapped potential.  

He seemed ‘ready to go’ to me in so many ways, ready to step up in life, just not knowing how to do it: no one in his corner, no one he would listen to, family paralysed to know how to support, so much pressure on him, so little confidence, practice or experience in working by himself and so little clear context for why he should motivate himself to do all this learning and studying in the first place.

Needless to say we got on like a house on fire, as I usually do with these incredible, marginalised young adults that I meet, in this woeful position, in this most unforgiving system.  I know - with the openness, relationship and willingness to change - that we can resolve many of these problems and he knows it too.

And not just for him, but for everyone in the family, all his teachers and friends too.  

We can get him back into a good place and happy again.  

To find out more about my 12-week 1-to-1 mentorship programme, click hereand 'Apply for Sept 2021'.

As his mum and I concluded afterwards a lot of it is a matter of perception, everyone’s perception; his perception of himself and everyone else’s perception of him.  

All he needs right now is someone who can reach him, who he can respect and enjoy time with, someone who sees all that he truly is - not as a problem - someone who can get on the same page as him, make a plan with him about what he wants in life and how he is going to go after it.  Someone to confirm with him immediately that all is well, right now, that he can relax and start calmly putting in place, and into action, some changes that will prove to him that everything is 100% still to play for in his life and with his future.  

I am that person.

He told me he wants to be an entrepreneur and has an idea already to start a drinks company with a friend.

I am going to open up this and all his other dreams with him, whilst we bring life to Maths and to school and the other practicalities of his life as it currently is. 

And we’re going to smash it.  I know that with conviction by now because I have been here many times before with families in just this position with a brilliant, but downward-spiralling, young person who needs catching and turning around, at this crucial age and stage, and sending on his merry way in an upward trajectory.

If this resonates with you, or sounds just like your son or daughter and your family situation, then you can contact me now here and book in for an open, relaxed and friendly chat about how I can relieve all this pressure from all of you too and start making school and life work for you and your child.  

Don’t delay I will have a full quota of 'dream students' by the end of the month!

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