I went to Joe’s parents evening this week I didn’t really know what to think, we sat with the teacher for 5-10 minutes. She talked about Joe as a person, how he could improve his social skills. But overall she was very pleased with what a helpful, kind and hard working boy he is. Everything a Parent wants to hear about their child. I never saw a book until I asked for it, and she never quoted me one fact or figure stating where he was in the league tables. At first I felt a little aggrieved, like she had missed something, so I asked to see some of his work. As we sat at the table Joe happily talked me through some of the stories he had written, and felt totally at ease. Yet still I was a little niggled by the lack of facts and figures.
There could be a few reasons she didn’t bombard me with facts and figures; firstly she is a supply teacher. Joe’s lovely teacher retired in July. You would think that as someone who has not spent that long with the children, the easy thing to do would be hide behind the stats, its easier to quote figures isn’t it? But she didn’t, she had got to know each and every child. I watched her talking to parents, and she knew interesting little facts about them and was animated when she spoke. Joe was clearly very comfortable in her presence, she showed him respect, and he clearly respected her.
I came away feeling like I have been groomed by education, groomed to believe my child is quantifiable by facts and figures. I can’t believe I was so uncomfortable at not getting fed this information. Information that ranks my little boy. The more I analyse this the madder with myself I am, he is not a number to satisfy government statistics, he is a child with feelings and spirit.
I actually cannot believe I allowed myself to be cognitively conditioned to see my child as a number in terms of education; something out current education system seems to have gotten down to a fine art. Don’t get me wrong, Joe’s school is a wonderful school that encourages a family atmosphere, support the children and help them grow into independent teenagers. The staff do care, you can see that in the whole ethos of the school, but they cant change sats and government guidelines.
When Jack was at primary school he coasted but was happy, he was encouraged to do well by the staff but not pushed in a negative way, then in the last year he seemed to step it up a couple of levels and came out with great sats grades. He is now in top sets for math’s, science and many other subjects. What I am trying to say is, as a coaster with the support of School he did well. He didn’t high perform throughout his primary years, but the support and comfortable environment encouraged him to reach his full potential. Even though on paper he wasn’t a high performer.
As parent we need to step back, these are our children. I for one will not be allowing society to pigeonhole my child, why? With support an encouragement and working alongside school my children, they will do well in life. I will encourage homework help with it. But I want learning to be enjoyable and fun. I have seen too many intelligent teenagers throughout the years, go off the rails due to over pushy parents, I have heard of parents doing their childs homework, what lesson is that teaching. Being pushy will not help the boys succeed, it sends out the message that we are against them. We will not mark them against other children.
My concern is my children and their happiness. My parents accepted on my decision to be a hairdresser, told me it was my choice, I had wanted to be a writer forever, but due to a bad experience changed track, so many parent go mad at thought of their child taking up this career. What they do not realise is as stereotyped as it is, it is a very prosperous industry. And I turned out ok.
So yes I will learn from my parents, my children are not number, what they need to learn in life, is you get what you put in. They must be self-motivated; as we cant do the work for them, and be accountable for their own actions. If they follow these rules the numbers will follow.