Am I Average?

An activity to help explore targets and levels and how they make us see ourselves.

KS3 | 30 Mins | Group

KEY QUESTION: How do I feel about myself and my abilities?



Young people in schools are set many targets based on past performance and circumstances and this task is designed to help them explore their feelings about their past levels, future targets, expectations and performance.

It uses the poem ‘The Average Child’ by Michael Buscemi as a stimulus for discussion and thinking.

I don’t cause teachers trouble;
My grades have been okay.
I listen in my class.
I’m in school every day.

My teachers think I’m average;
My parents think so too.
I wish I didn’t know that, though;
There’s lots I’d like to do.

I’d like to build a rocket;
I read a book on how.
Or start a stamp collection…
But no use trying now.

’Cause, since I found I’m average,
I’m smart enough you see
To know there’s nothing special
I should expect of me.

I’m part of that majority,
That hump part of the bell,
Who spends his life unnoticed
In an average kind of hell.

The Average Child, Michael Buscemi


1. You could read the poem with learners and then give them time to reflect in pairs, small groups or individually about a few of the following questions such as:

  • Are there any lines in this poem that you want to comment on?
  • Do you agree with the ideas the writer is conveying?
  • Are there any thoughts in the poem that sadden you?
  • What do you think of the word average?
  • Is there anything you feel average about?
  • Do you ever feel that people are limited by targets?
  • Do you think that targets help people to focus and reach goals?
  • Can it be difficult when your friends have different targets to you?
  • How do you handle expectations other people have of you?
  • Is it possible to get different results to your targets?

2. You could then ask learners to work in small groups to construct a few bullet points of advice for a group of learners (maybe new Year 7 pupils) on how they feel about themselves and how they might handle targets, levels and expectations through secondary school.

3. You could use the poem as a guide for learners to write some thoughts about themselves. For example:

I cause my teachers trouble,
my grades are never OK

I please my teachers all the time,
my parents are delighted,
but I wish I didn’t know so much,
‘cos then I’d fit in and be average

Luke, Secondary School Student, Bradford


Based on original material created by The Linking Network and Lifeworlds Learning

Resources to download