How many people can say truthfully that they enjoyed attending school every day? That they are learning what they as individuals want to learn and that their teachers respect and listen to them. There isn’t many as society still lacks one important voice that can shape an education where students actually want to attend school, an education where students and teachers can work and even learn together. This voice is the voice of the students themselves, we live in an exciting time as the world is beginning to listen to this voice. We no longer live in a time where students get punished for not fitting in, where students learn in a factory-like setting. We now have the opportunity to learn in an environment that we are comfortable in, in an environment where students and teachers respect each other. We now live in a time where students shape their own future and are encouraged to think for themselves. Student voice is a powerful thing that is so often misinterpreted as being when students speak up and take a stand against something they don’t believe in. students assume they need to be loud in order to be heard however the truth is you don’t even need to speak in order to make a difference. Every student has the opportunity to shape an education that they believe in. a good start is when you get a new teacher don’t wait for them to respect you as if you want respect you must be the first to give it. This is what I put into action in year 7, I gave respect to all my teachers and in return, they respected me and used more of their energy to inspire and teach me. I proved to my teachers that I wanted to learn no matter how long it would take. I started secondary school behind all my peers and didn’t believe I would ever be able to achieve much, however, this changed. I decided not to give up on my future as that was all I had to look forward to. I have proved to people that anybody can achieve great things and have shown people the first step towards a future where students and teachers work together to shape an education where anybody can achieve great results. The other day the VicSRC had a planning day where we planned the future of the organisation. One major thing that came out of the day was the fact that there are still schools out there that haven’t heard of our organisation and because of this don’t know how to implement student voice into their schools. This is a major issue as these are the kinds of school’s students dread attending as they feel they are not valued. These are the kinds of schools that so badly need student voice as the schools start to fall apart. The reason the VicSRC has been running strong for almost 12 years now is because we have become the teachers, we facilitate workshops that show students and teachers how to use student voice. We pride ourselves on the fact that we ask the students what they would like to see changed at their school and because we listen to the students we have been able to change the education system to better cater for them. I believe everybody can help shape an inclusive education system where no student is left hiding in the dark corners of the school, where students look forward to attending school and come home every day inspired and wanting to go back the next day. I believe in a future where education does not discriminate against differences but actually uses them, an education where students lead the way and not some guy who hasn’t seen a classroom for at least 20 years. This future is the future that every student wants and is encouraged to help shape, this future is the one I ask you to help shape as the students of today are your future. Student voice is for everyone and is the very thing that will change education for the better.
Bryce Pace Autism Advocate
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