A letter sent by a British headmistress that encouraged her students not to put their worth in their exam results went viral this week and brought her international praise.
Rachel Tomlinson wanted her students to know that their test results, delivered with the letter, did not capture all the ways they were “special and unique”.
Wow. There are posts all over the world about this letter!! All we did was remind our Y6 how amazing they are!!! pic.twitter.com/nKNGhwc9MY— Barrowford School (@BarrowfordSch) July 15, 2014
But the international praise became awkward for the teacher when it emerged her relaxed attitude to test results appeared also to apply to plagiarism.
The sentiments in the letter, which has been retweeted thousands of times this week, is remarkably similar to a blog posted late last year by an American teacher.
Here are a few lines from the letter headmistress Rachel Tomlinson sent to her year 6 students at Barrowford Primary School in Lancashire in the north of England:
“The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do.
“They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day.
“They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends.”
And here's that blog post from US teacher Kimberly Hurd Horst last October:
"The people who create these tests and score them do not know each student the way I do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way the families do.
“They do not know that some of my students speak two languages or more. They do not know that they can play a musical instrument or that they can dance or paint a picture. Doesn't that matter more? They do not know that they are someone who friends can count on to be there for them or that the sound of their laughter can brighten the dreariest day in the homes they live in and in my classroom.
“Those who design the tests do not know that some of my students have traveled to a really neat place and come back alive with stories or that they even know how to tell a great story and bubble over with excitement to share!”
Ms Tomlinson's blunder was very quickly brought to her attention over Twitter and she acknowledged she had seen the text online and thought it worth passing on.
“I think we may have found the blog that was the inspiration for our letter to Year 6,” the Barrowford School account tweeted with a link to the blog.
The original author responded graciously that “the message is much, much, much more important than the messenger. Thx for acknowledgement”.