Have a read of the ‘Special Note’ and then ignore it and let your children aspire to be whatever they want to be. Thanks mum and some of my teachers for supporting my aspirations when I was young! pic.twitter.com/fbfCPar12Y
— Jack Green (@jackpgreen) January 16, 2018
At most schools, Career Day is an opportunity for kids to dream big and ask the question, “what do I want to be when I grow up?” But according to one British school, there are some caveats.
In a letter home to parents announcing the school’s annual “My World of Work Day,” officials invited children to come to school “dressed as themselves in a job they would like to do in the future” with a few props to “express their ambitions.” However, the sheet included a boxed-in “special note” that’s causing some serious backlash:
We know that some children would love to be professional sports people or pop stars or famous YouTubers in the future. These are great ambitions but so hard to achieve! Because of this, on this occasion, we’re not allowing these dress-up choices — instead, we’d like children to think of their “Plan B” choices for jobs.
The letter quickly went viral after two-time Olympic medal winner Jack Green tweeted a strong rebuttal:
“Have a read of the ‘Special Note’ and then ignore it and let your children aspire to be whatever they want to be,” Green wrote. “Thanks mum and some of my teachers for supporting my aspirations when I was young!”
What followed is a decisive debate among athletes and parents alike:
Nah, I’m afraid I totally disagree with you here. Encouraging a “plan B” is very responsible thing to do for children. Not everyone makes it like you, and even then, you yourself will need a plan B when the body fades.
— Sam Egerton (@SamsonEgerton) January 16, 2018
— Sp0rtz_F@n (@Sp0rtz_Fan) January 16, 2018
I’m 5′ 8″ tall and have ZERO athletic ability… I wanted to be an NBA superstar… a dream isn’t worth much if it isn’t within the realm of possibility… dream big, but dream within the boundary of what is probable not possible.
— Inherently Different (@calsnoboarder) January 17, 2018
Because becoming a doctor/ vet/ lawyer is so easy to achieve after all!!!!
— Gareth Breen (@gareth_breen) January 16, 2018
The school are simply trying to avoid another glorified fancy dress day. They want the kids to really think about their choice and different jobs/careers. It’s not legally binding! It gives children options ‘ what else would you like to be?’
— Stacey Burland (@staceylovesnoah) January 17, 2018
“Dear Parents, You might then like to consider moving your child to a school where their dreams and ambitions will be encouraged rather than pissed all over as soon as they rear their ugly heads . . . “
— Jon Teckman #FBPE (@Jontwothreefour) January 16, 2018
What a ridiculous idea. Sod PlanB – these kids are at Primary School and wayyyy off any age where they should have an idea what they want to do career wise. Yes, make them aware of reality, but let them dream!
— Scott Eburne (@scottebu11) January 16, 2018
As a parent of a child who still aspires to be a “cheeky monkey” when she grows up (3-year-olds are weird), I am certainly in no hurry to start setting parameters to her dreams. I agree that we should let kids be kids, that the world’s best neurosurgeons, astronauts, and educators likely all started out with nothing but lofty aspirations. But I also know that kids are impressionable, and that from a very young age, they are told up and down by the world around them that fame is a definition of success — so I empathise with the desire to not have a school filled with boys in football jerseys and girls dressed as Taylor Swift (as talented and business savvy as she is). And I most definitely believe that, eventually, teaching our children about setting realistic goals and working to achieve them is just as crucial as telling them to reach for the stars.
Even Green admitted that “I’ve already had to have a plan B, C and D running alongside plan A” throughout his Olympic career.
“It’s definitely a necessity and we must encourage a good education,” he wrote on Twitter. “But the issue here is not letting some children dream and aim high because it’s ‘so hard to achieve’. Should we not encourage the plan A and then educate and increase awareness of the journey it requires?”
Maybe this school can get Green to speak at its next Career Day?