Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Unexpected thumbs up

Today was "curriculum progress" day at our sons' school. My younger son and I attended meetings with four of his teachers to discuss his progress against expectations so far this academic year. These days are usually pretty fraught as one dashes from room to room, sometimes in different buildings, in order to make each appointment on time. If you have more than one child, it's even worse.

I got off fairly lightly today. When my sons brought the forms home, my older son said he didn't want to meet with any of his teachers. He said that he was in his final year of compulsory education, already in the countdown to exams. He knew what needed to be done to achieve his grades and he didn't think that a meeting with me and his teachers would have any impact on that.

I wrote as much on the form and returned it to the school, adding that I supported him in his recognition that it was his learning journey and that it was now up to him to "do the work (or not)". His teacher was apparently so impressed with this attitude that she read it to the class, declaring me a "legend" (don't be too impressed, the word is freely used these days!).

In respect of my younger son, however, there are still some mountains to climb and some battles to fight (such as two teachers blemishing the record of this over-diligent lad by writing in his report that his homework is "causing concern" when none has been set... and I know this, because the planner is online), hence the four meetings. On our rounds, we encountered several of my older son's friends, who asked where he was. When I explained that we had decided that he was now shouldering the responsibility himself, one child declared, "Wow! My Mom forces me to come to these things." I wasn't sure whether he meant it as praise or criticism.

Time will tell whether it was the right decision or not, but I was pleasantly surprised to have earned the teacher's support for it.

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