Bad grades? Time for a re-think?

bad grades - time for a rethinkNot getting the results you want gives you the chance to really consider your options. Rather than blindly following your chosen path, you may realise you’re better suited to something completely different, as Dave Arnold explains.

My dad was an architect and this had a big influence on my A-level choices, in addition to choosing subjects I thought I was OK at and enjoyed. I eventually chose maths, physics and engineering drawing – a fairly traditional combination in those days. Having been around drawings of buildings and building sites most of my life I thought that would be a good route for me. I knew I wouldn’t be as good an architect as my dad so I thought I would I would do something different but related and liked the idea of becoming a structural engineer.

I studied reasonably hard but was always a little distracted by sport and other less academic pursuits so it wasn’t a great surprise that I didn’t achieve the results needed to go on to university. I was lucky, I was able to stay on a re-sit my maths with a view to reapplying the following year. But I was already having doubts and, whilst I did marginally better second time round, I knew that studying engineering was not for me. The problem was ‘what do I do now?’. And I was a bit lost for a while. Having a love of all things sport I started thinking about teaching PE as an alternative route and applied to teacher training college where I spent three fantastic years gaining a teaching degree. It turned out I was far better suited to teaching that I could have imagined and I started out on my career in education as a very happy PE teacher in a comprehensive school.

So on reflection I had a lucky escape. I still love buildings and building sites with a passion but as a hobby rather than a profession. But working in ‘learning’ proved to be my vocation, not a job. Sometimes you have to be knocked back (or down) before you realise what is really important to you and I realised that it’s never too late to have a change of heart, a change of mind or a change of direction.

Find out more about surviving A-level results