Thursday 14 May 2009

School report

Last week was parents' evening at the school, and a chance to review progress.

On the downside, I have to report there was no free-flowing wine as there has been at other recent school events. So I was sober as a judge. Also the german teacher I have a soft spot for was on stern form, so no chance to practice my charms. Such as they are.

An added complication was that instead of the teachers being crammed into the Great Hall, so it was pretty easy to march up and down the rows and spot the ones I was booked to see, they had spread themselves across three rooms in three different buildings, so getting from one to 'tother involved a mad sprint, and then careering around the room to find the particular teacher in question. Arriving sweaty and out of breath probably doesn't convey a parent in control of themsleves let alone their offsping. At least we were all in the same boat, apart from the smarty-pants parents who had arrived early and plotted their route with a Tom Tom. Bet their children are swots too.

You get 5 minutes a piece and not a second more, or else a long queue forms behind with much tutting, humphing and whispering. My conversations tend to be fairly brief, and this year I was pretty well prepared, so no need to linger longer.

Last year I was lulled into a false sense of security, and inflated ego, by my inital chats. The boy was a hard working angel and a credit to himself, his parent and the school. I got to the last teacher, and was off-balanced by "I'm so glad you've come to see me, I need to talk to you about your son." After a five minute roasting, I slunk away.

This year the expectation levels were set differently, to the extent that when the conversation started with "I'm glad you've come to see me...", I simply said, "Can I just cut across you. I'm aware of this, that and the other issues, is there anything I don't know about, or any guidance you can give me." Of course, it worked in reverse, and I was wrong-footed by the occassional. "Your son is gifted" or "He is my rock". Long discussions were had about exam results which had produced a mixed bag of 'expected' and 'disappointing'. The dedication to revision hadn't been all that it should have been, and coasting in some subjects where he has a natural talent was also apparent to one and all. In two subjects, weaker than expected results were down, mainly, to 'not reading the question'. I'm glad to say that the French mistress is charmed, which is a significant turn around from the early part of the year which had seen several frantic calls to and from the school. That's progress.

We were all agreed that a more focused and dedicated approach would deliver better next year. And hopefully the boy will work harder too.

And that will be important because he starts in earnest on GCSE studies (should I still be calling them 'O' levels?) after the imminent half-term holdiay. Oh, and of course, because I'd quite like to swagger around next year's parent's evening with my chest puffed out. Again.


  1. I reckon it's time to stop calling them O Levels. I was among the very first year of GCSE students... and that was more than 20 years ago now!


  2. The German teacher is married, the boy told me. Waste not your breath (or charm)

  3. I loathed the return of my parents after such events, despite being a model child. A model of what was rarely determined.

  4. Steady on RTFM, is it fair to expect the poor lad to excel at everything?

    He could do himself a favour and start narrowing his career choices now by starting to focus on what he's really good/naturally gifted at. And that married to what he's interested in is the best careers guidance he could ask for, although agreed he needs to give his least-favourite subjects a proper chance first.

  5. I still call them O-levels and always will, so there!! Don't worry, he'll knuckle down. Oh it takes me back, I can tell you!!


There's only one thing worse than being commented on...not commented on