First lesson back: Sense of possibility

In my first lesson with a new class I have two things I want to achieve: visioneering and routineering. This post is about visioneering, the act of sharing the Big Vision with your students and imbuing them with a Sense of Possibility.

For clarity, the reason I think visioneering is essential is that to date, my students haven’t arrived with an idea of what they’re really capable of and without a SOPO, their effort, resilience and satisfaction plummet. So as early as possible during our time together, I want them to appreciate what is waiting for them at the end. I want their mental picture of their own future to be vivid, enticing and potent because it’s going to give them the driving force they’ll need to work hard over the coming year(s) and deal with setbacks.

The Big Vision is simple: I think you deserve to be happy. A lot of unhappiness comes from not having choices in life or not being able to choose the things that make you happy. So, in contrast, the route to happiness that I’m suggesting is one that keeps your life full of choices, particularly the choices that make you happy.

There are many things that will give you choices in life and it’s not simply money. Your virtues and personality probably count for more. One of the virtues that probably gets the best results is that of being diligent…hard-working. Everyone appreciates a hard-worker and generally speaking the more hard-working you are, the more choices you’ll have.


The thing about being hard-working though is not to leave it too late. Don’t wait until you’re 25 to start working hard because you’ll miss out on the good things that have gone to those who started younger. Don’t wait until you’re 16 either because a lot of doors will have closed by then. In fact, the time to start working hard is from the beginning.

Let me show you a video of some students who started working hard when they were your age. These students go/went to *this* school. Not a private school. Not a school 100 miles away or even down the road. They went to your school and 5 years ago they were sat in *your* chairs.

At this point, I play a video I’ve recorded on GCSE results day of our highest achievers.

When the video finishes, I carry on…

What were the students in the video feeling? How could you tell? Why do you think they had those feelings? Can you imagine what it would be like to feel the same way?

Let’s see if we can feel the same way today.

Close your eyes, I want to tell you a story…

They listen attentively as I tell them a fairly drawn out story about the 5 year emotional rollercoaster from year 7 to 11, paying particular attention to the nerves they’ll experience on results day morning. As I build towards the final Envelope moment I slip a piece of paper on the desk in front of each of them. Printed on each sheet is a fake GCSE certificate that I’ve mail-merged with their name and date of birth to make it look marginally more authentic – as any illusionist will tell you, the details are key!

During the course of the storytelling, they’ve become immersed. They believe they are the protagonists and for a blissful minute when they open their eyes and read their results over and over (I’ve given them all grades that are slightly better than the ones they saw the students in the video getting) they feel a personal pride they’ve never felt before. They know they haven’t genuinely earned it but now that they’ve felt it, they want more of it. They *want* to earn it for real and they’re willing to believe it really will be them in 5 years.

Full of a sense of possibility, we can now begin the hard work.

Carl Morris from Purbeck School has written this script.

What do you think of this post?
  • Like (17)
  • Dislike (0)

3 Replies to “First lesson back: Sense of possibility”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *