So Sophie had her first school Parents Evening last week and I was fascinated to experience what it was like.
Gotta say…it was weird.
First of all, rocking up to a school building after hours is always a little bit strange (when you’re not working).
There’s the building itself, designed for small people to inhabit so you always feel slightly oversized. Especially if you’re tall and gangly like I am.
Then the chairs. Now part of the reason I gave Foundation Stage a wide berth was the sheer dread of sitting on tiny chairs and my knees being above my head.
Also, we had gone for the latest possible slots – it’s so annoying for teachers when parents do that but needs must! – so it was going dark when we arrived. That too feels slightly off, as though you’re not really supposed to be there because the sun’s gone in.
Anyway, we waited our turn outside the classroom as you do, wondering how Sophie was doing (in her two and a half weeks as a school pupil. I know, crazily early).
The person before us was clearly having a good chat with the teacher as we were a full ten minutes after our appointment time when we finally got in.
My mind boggled for what she could have been discussing. I’ve seen it all.
Are you stretching my child? Does she have any friends? Why is she not eating enough? At least in nursery there’s no questions about homework.
I was always very fortunate on Parents Evening as I was blessed with really receptive, genuine parents who made valid points and were able to talk really professionally about them. Colleagues of mine have had far tougher times and I know that they can be a real ordeal. Once we got in to our consultation – all five minutes of it – I was determined to leave the tough questions to a later date.
And so to Sophie. She’s doing fine to be honest. Settled in well, seems to have settled into a little crew of five blonde girls who all run around giggling at each other. I’m sure it’s super sweet and not at all cliquey – not yet anyway.
She sits on the carpet, eats her dinner and joins in enthusiastically with the singing. That’ll be my negative influence then!
The only question we had was about the dinner menu and what she has. Trying to find out from Sophie is a waste of time.
“What did you have to eat today?”
“Come on, you must remember something.”
“Bread. Er…and mash.”
Bread and mash? Well apparently that’s not on the real menu so she just made it up. Thanks Sophie.
All in all though, despite the initial weirdness of being in a school setting once again, we came out feeling encouraged, reassured and content.
And that’s how Parents Evening should make you feel. Teachers too. I’m determined that as parents we’ll always give our full support to whoever’s teaching our child. We’ll ask appropriate questions when the time’s right for sure but we’ll always let them know we’re on their side and we’re there to help.
That’s what the best parents did for me during my teaching career and it paid off royally.
If every parent did that, it’d make teachers lives a good deal easier.
The next Parents’ Evening is in the spring sometime. I’m already counting down the days…