This week it’s Parents’ Evening at our children’s school and since the Husband has managed not to be in the same postcode district as usual, the task falls to me. At least Caitlin and Ieuan are finally in the same school and on the same site!
I have to be quite honest here. Attending Parents’ Evening is not my favourite thing to do.
Even though I love to see their artwork on the walls and thumb through their project books, spending 30 minutes past your allotted time for 5 minutes with their teacher doesn’t seem the most effective way of gauging their progress.
And, by the way, if you’re one of those parents who feels compelled to discuss your holiday / DIY / the cat’s health with teacher, please try tuning in to the huffing and tutting of the irritated queue of parents pretending not to listen behind you.
It’s a form of parent one-upmanship which is amusing and annoying in equal measure.
But as I squat like Pocahontas with intestinal problems on one of those mini chairs, I find myself rehearsing the questions I’d really like to ask but don’t dare in case I come across as a babbling neurotic.
These are the questions I reckon we’d all really like to ask.
Does my child have friends?
Are they being picked on and would you tell me if they were?
How do they compare with their classmates?[Remind me – have we completely banned any form of competition in schools now and replaced it with a new set of stickers – “Well done, you managed to exist again today”?]
Do they seem happy during the school day?
Now that my child has formed an emotional attachment to you, do you promise not to leave?
Do they eat their dinner? Do they eat their vegetables? Are they using cutlery?
Why does my child never get a decent role in the school play?
Now that all weaponry in school plays has been banned, how do I explain what goes on in the Armed Forces?
Why is so much learning screen based? Can’t they risk bronchial problems through chalk dust inhalation like we had to?
And all of the above can be neatly summarised in this ONE question.
Do you think I’m an OK parent?
Because that’s what it’s really about, isn’t it?
Most of the time parents’ evening is not so much about your child’s academic performance as it is a barometer of your parenting skills
This is why Facebook this week will be awash with “well done Timmy, mummy is so proud you have got an A level in Astrophysics and you’re only in year 3” type posts.
How this makes parents of children who are struggling feel, I dread to think, but there it is again, that element of competition.
I’ve an idea. Why don’t we let our kids compete a little bit more and then perhaps the focus of parents evening might be more about their performance and a little less about ours.
Do I get a sticker?