Sharing may be caring – but not if it’s all over Facebook

Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

You’d have thought that the last thing an exam student would need while awaiting their results would be a public affirmation from their mammy or daddy that they’re going to glide through with flying colours.

But next time the Leaving or Junior Cert results are due – which obviously is almost a year away – just take a look at Facebook where there’s post after post wishing the students well and predicting that they’ll comfortably ace it.

This declaration of faith is invariably followed by friends of said ma or da concurring with her confidence that the teenage prodigy was always destined for great things and exam success is just an inevitable stage one of the path to glory.

How they think this might be helpful to a teenager in the midst of their exam trauma is anyone’s guess – but if said parents felt the need to tell them that State exams were a piece of cake for a budding genius, then you’d imagine that the obvious way to convey this would be to their face.

Instead, they tee them up for a massive fall via social media – because this isn’t actually about voicing support for a young person at all; it’s just boasting.

There are a couple of things you should never do with a student facing into exams or results.

One is to patronise them by telling them that the Leaving Cert isn’t the end of the world – mainly on the basis that Charlie Bird did alright without it – when actually, at that moment in their lives, it is.

Of course there are many paths to success – and exams are only one measure of ability anyway – but try telling that to universities if your CAO points don’t hit the spot.

The second way to go wrong is to express unqualified confidence in their abilities – and then, if they do well, to effectively tell them: “I told you so.”

Even the brightest of students stumbles in an exam setting – but whatever their results, they’ve worked hard for it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.