Thursday, 26 March 2009

Parent's Evening

I don't know how you feel but I find parent's evening a stressful experience. Any way you look at it you feel that your children are being judged and that by extension you are being judged on your parenting ability. Late this afternoon Polly and I, with the boys in tow, entered the school hall and waited for two teachers to sit in judgement.

Obviously, in reality, there was no reason to worry. Neither child shows signs of psychopathy or any major form of personality disorder and both are hitting their educational targets with no significant problems. Indeed, when the worse that can be said of Sam is that he sometimes doesn't listen to others in the playground, you do tend to think, he's four, show me a four year old who is attentive to others all the time and I'll prick you with a pin to wake you from your happy little dream world. Matty's major failing is that he doesn't always keep his tray tidy. Yes, but his bedroom looks like a catalogue photo for Ikea, of course. Keeping his tray tidy and organised is important, I recognise that. If it was we would get the notes that say he has to come to school dressed as a Tudor king on Wednesday morning before the Tuesday evening we usually get them.

I'm sure that any anxiety I have connected to parent's evenings stem from my own school days and the paranoid suspicion that my teachers were going to reveal some awful secret about me. What this dreadful truth was going go be I was never sure. I was so completely invisible at school that it would have amazed me if my teachers could have picked me out of a line up unless there was a neon flashing arrow hovering over my head. I was once put in school detention for taking a short cut across the grass. The fact that I was slowly losing my ability to walk was not considered a mitigation. And I was once reprimanded for reading Orwell's Animal Farm during a French lesson but when this was mentioned at a parent's evening it was only to say how impressed other teachers in the staff room had been that any pupil in our school was reading Orwell of their own free will. Perhaps, aside from a relatively sophisticated taste in literature, I was afraid that my parents would discover how average I was. Luckily I had younger siblings who shone brilliantly behind me to distract them.

Matty and Sam are both, according to their teachers, bright, happy, well adjusted and socially adept children, so I suppose Polly and I are doing something right. Now, if they can just translate this into well paying jobs in the future so they can support us in our dotage then we will have cracked it.