Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Parents' Meeting?

My eldest 'kind of forgot' to inform me of the parents' meeting last night until the day before which meant I couldn't organise appointments with any of his teachers. Coincidence? I think not...

However, he had to tell me because his French teacher summoned me at 17.55. If she hadn't, I really think he would have quietly not told me and deprived me of the chance to hear about his adolescent crisis.

In fact, I went earlier in the hope of seeing other teachers, and managed to see 3 others. Two of them were in despair over the freefall of his results and his indifferent attitude to working. Well, he is in 4e which is the typical year when everything falls temporarily apart. His French teacher put it down to his crise d'adolescence and told him he had 3 weeks to get over it during his school trip to Spain followed immediately by the Spring holidays, and get back ready to work.

That would be most convenient, but I think it'll take a draconian regime of deprivation to get the message through that he has to buck his ideas up. No Xbox, no computer, limited going out - the usual. I'll also be standing over him while he does his homework - fun...

It's not all bad though. Maths and science are okay which in France means you're most of the way there to a brilliant career in just about anything.

So I thought back to my black ado years. I remember that when I was in the third form, aged 13, I decided to take the year off, have a break from the grind of homework and just sail along doing the absolute minimum to keep my mother off my back.

At the end of the year my exam results were amazingly good considering how little I'd done. When I set back to work the following year my results weren't nearly as high. I've never understood that. Maybe I peaked at 13 and it was downhill all the way following my year of slothfulness. I never did discover what I wanted to do.

My brothers spent most of their school careers doing the absolute minimum too. Enough not to get noticed but certainly well below their potential. They then went on to successful careers doing what they wanted to do. Is that even possible nowadays?

My eldest has fallen below the barrier of unremarkable behaviour and been noticed so all hell has been let loose. I did try to warn him a while ago. Do enough to keep everyone happy and you get to do what you want to do (play, go out...). So we have another opportunity to discover together that actions (or non-action) have consequences. Such a useful life lesson and one which he has come across many times before. Hopefully one day he'll actually learn from it! The learning curve is still despairingly steep!


  1. Oh Sarah, reading this post has brought back some memories, my school reports were of the 'has the ability, must try harder' variety, and some, I used to open them before, I gave them to my parents, if they were bad, which was the norm, I would hide them. Nice of the teacher to be so understanding regarding his crise d'adolescence. I am sure he will get the message and come out the other end OK.

  2. Thank you Dash. I must say that yesterday I went home and had two G&Ts I felt so frustrated with him.

    I just hope he gets the message in time. The modern age is so ruthless!

  3. I am so glad those days are over. It is very difficult to put things in perspective at the time.
    These letters was in todays Daily Telegraph.

    "SIR – At the end of my first term at Radley, the warden wrote: “He may be the youngest in the school, but there is no need for him to be the worst behaved.”

    There is hope for us all, as I became a headmaster.

    David Prichard
    Sherborne, Dorset"

    and another.

    "SIR – I remember my last school report from my public school (Letters, March 31). The headmaster wrote: “At least his education hasn’t gone to his head.”

    William Alderney
    Malpas, Cheshire"

  4. HAHAHA, love those letters, Johnny!!

  5. Love the new look!

    Ah, fifteen year old boys. Always trying to do the bare minimum. I put several in detention every week to get homework out of them. We have an understanding; they coast along not doing homework for a week or two, I put them in detention to make them work, they save face with their peers, they don't fail their exams. Twas ever thus!

  6. Thanks, working mum!

    Actually, he's only 13 1/2. Are you telling me I've got another 1 1/2yrs of this hell? AAARRGGHHH

    Actually I signed him up for where they have the whole programme online plus exercises, a revision programme, and useful stuff like dicos. He was remarkably unenthusiastic...

    On it this morning, he rang to say he hadn't done any of the subjects, 2/3 of the way through the school year so couldn't do the exercises. I didn't believe him. D'uh!


Comments are bienvenue.