My personal journey through secondary school was tolerable at the best of times. It is no secret that adolescents in secondary school are handed both the taxing responsibility of being required to know exactly what they would like to do as adults and also a mountain of work to achieve that goal. However, despite having been on top of my studies for the most part as well as having a general direction of where I wanted to be in the future, I was still unhappy during my time there. So what was missing?
It looks as if what a majority of mainstream secondary schools lack is kinship and co-operation. Before I began attending the LifeLine Institute [now LifeLine School], I was never aware that it was possible to feel a sense of belonging in your place of education. This being said, the LifeLine Institute is more than a foundation for academia. It is–as it has been recognised by many people, students and teachers alike–a community.
In addition to supporting pupils in gaining qualifications, LifeLine does what other schools neglect to give importance to; seeing its learners as individuals. It seemed to me that secondary school was a place I was required to be whether I liked it or not. Coming to LifeLine, I felt that even though I still had to be there, I was also wanted. The Institute creates an environment where your input and opinions are important enough to make an impact and you are surrounded by people who want, more than anything, to see you succeed.
“The teachers care about you,” said my friend, Claudia, who was at LifeLine at the same time as me “if you need help with something, they will be there for you.”
Having small groups of classes (less than 20 pupils to a group) certainly assists in giving pupils a focused and personalised undertaking of their education. Teachers are much more able to attend to the needs of separate pupils and assess what they must do to achieve their best. More than that, the teachers at LifeLine understand their students as they are given the opportunity to get to know them as people.
Making friends is also a vastly different experience at LifeLine. A large majority of students arrive to the Institute from different countries, giving them rich and unique backgrounds. In large establishments like most mainstream secondary schools, a lot of time is spent ignoring others and being ignored. In LifeLine, it is not possible to be a stranger to the people you go to school with. It helps in building a society in which everyone is valued and given a voice.
LifeLine also helps you to pave your own future. Offering work-experience and sessions with a career’s advisor, as well as giving each person a mentor, LifeLine makes sure that you are well equipped to attain the future you want.
All in all, what LifeLine does is more than provide you with the necessary qualifications to finish high school with. It helps you to develop a sense of personhood and become an independent being capable of taking responsibility for their own future. In my short time at the Institute, I encountered countless former pupils who have dropped in just to say hello to the teachers and see their old school- proving that in just one year, the knowledge students at LifeLine gain and the bonds they forge are far beyond invaluable.