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When I was in Year 8, my English teacher summoned Mum to the school and told her that I was 'borderline illiterate'. Mum was in tears, I was in trouble, but by the end of the week, I had an English tutor. 

At roughly the same time, my best friend from primary school, who we'll call 'Shane', was also struggling with his literacy. He too had a host of undiagnosed learning disorders. 

Thanks to years of intensive support, I was able to turn literacy into a strength, graduating from Carey Grammar as the Dux of English. However, never receiving the support he needed, Shane left school before VCE even started.

This contrast between me an my mate only grew more stark.

By the age of 24, I was the Head of English at Alphington Grammar, whereas Shane had become overly familiar with the judicial system.

It is easy to criticise Shane's teachers for failing to pick up on his learning needs. How could they be so neglectful?

But having been an English teacher, I can tell you the real reason why situations like Shane's occur.

And it's not because teachers are lazy. It's because we're overstretched and overworked. 

In just my second year as an English teacher, I had 150 students across five English classes. In that one year alone, I wrote 200,000 words of feedback - more than two books worth of text. 

When we have to produce so much 'thoughtful' feedback in so little time, we reach the point of exhaustion.

We do not have the time or the energy to formally track student progress. Instead, we rely on our 'gut instincts', only raising alarm when an issue is glaringly obvious.

Mark My Words is designed to solve these two problems. 

We make it to much easier for teachers to give impactful feedback and we automatically track the progress of every student on every assessment 

If you would like to hear more, or you have a story like mine, please reach out. I'd love to chat. 


James Smith, Founder of Mark My Words