Posts Tagged ‘parents evening’

Reading age of 16

Robin

L attended Robin’s parent evening, where the news was entirely positive, if tinged with regret about his eleven plus result. A computer print-out showed he exceeded some benchmark across the full range of maths and English measures. Another showed that his reading age had climbed two years in the three months to December and another two years since then, giving him a reading age of 16.

Gabe

Gabe rarely leaves the house except for school and sporting engagements – playing or spectating. He has, though, been to a couple of parties recently and at those has drunk some alcohol. He’s not concealed the fact, nor dwelt on it, or thankfully, appeared to be any the worse for wear for it. I suspect he’s not liked it particularly, given how resistant he is to consuming any new flavours.

He did ask me ahead of the most recent party, if I could give him a bottle of something to take. Cider was his preference and so, for the first time, I bought my son a drink – not one that we shared together though. At the first mention of drinking, a couple of months ago, I had said to him that if he wanted to try beer, he should ask me. Before I had finished this attempt at responsible parenting, I realised how unappealing drinking with one’s Dad would be – the whole point was to take these early steps in the company of friends.

Eliza

Eliza’s solution to a day at home without any major plans is to bake. By choice, she would always bake something sweet: cookies, cakes, millionaire shortbread. Today, with everyone else but me out at a Man City game, she decided to make pizza. We walked to the shops to buy the mozzarella and passata. She served the pizzas sequentially: L, Robin, Gabe, with her own coming last. By the time she reached her own, she had run out of mozzarella and sent me back to the shops to replenish.

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Saved until last

Eliza

Eliza’s parents evening, attended by L, Eliza and me, was an evening of almost unremitting praise. The French teacher went into Gallic excess. More English, more restrained were history, English, music (although Eliza’s failure to go to strings group on Tuesday lunchtimes was mentioned) and science. Only maths, in the person of a very dull man, failed to join in the fun. But last was best, because the RE teacher, amongst her praise for Eliza, admitted that she always saved marking Eliza’s homework for last – to give her a boost at the end of a long marking session.

Robin

On a mild March evening, Robin joined L and I on a walk around the neighbourhood to get some air and steps on our health apps. A few minutes down the road and Robin announced that he was going to give us a quiz, on the subject of.. himself. For the next 20 minutes our knowledge of our younger son was tested: favourite music, tv programme, holiday and food preferences and much else. His mother, of course, won.

Gabe

Gabe is nibbling away at the pile of GCSE assessments that fill year 11. Science practicals, music performances, French controlled assessment, cookery assessment and PE performances have all been ticked off, with the exams to come after Easter.  The most stressful for him was the food technology test. He had never completed a practical in the allotted time, but we persuaded him to practice at the weekend and prepare some of the ingredients at home. His savoury Chelsea bun with tomato sauce looked impressive. He prepared most thoroughly for the French assessment, drafting a sophisticated piece about his home town that he reproduced under controlled assessment conditions (dictionary + 40 words of notes). The interim results place him well to achieve an impressive set of GCSEs.

Coming out of her shell

Eliza

At Eliza’s first secondary school parents evening, L heard a series of compliments for her progress and good nature. Several teachers noted that she began term very quietly, but was now coming out of her shell. Another (ignorant it seems Napoleon and many other eminent people of limited size) contrasted her physical size and that of her personality. The comment about ‘coming out her shell’ recalls her early days at junior school, where, in a class with many children from the year above, Eliza grew in confidence and flourished with the academic challenge. 

Robin

Robin is still the first in the family to wake. Nowadays he will lie in bed until he hears someone else roused. But at weekends, when we might be in bed past 7am, or if he wakes in the night, perhaps from a bad dream, he’ll come looking for us. ‘Baby Putin’ we call him, as he is bare-chested. But it’s not aggressive nationalism we’re met with, but urgent requests to go downstairs for breakfast, or perhaps a hug. 

Gabe

Gabe is genuinely motivated by music GCSE. He talks seriously and keenly about the subject matter. He has begun composing a piece for the piano. He listens to classical music, alongside modern tunes on his Spotify playlist. And he has set himself the target of learning to play Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata and Für Elise on the piano. 

Battle lines

Gabe

Battle lines between older son and parents exist on these territories: food (diversity thereof), tidying room, doing homework, getting things ready for the next day, use of digital devices, putting dirty clothes in washing basket, general courtesy in conversation with family. There’s also a struggle over the timing of washing. It’s not that Gabe won’t wash, he’s increasingly self-conscious about his appearance and his use of deodorant is a threat to the ozone layer. He wants to shower in the morning. Most days this is fine and sensible. There are days, however, like this Tuesday, when he went from school football match to club football practice, when washing before bed is imperative. At least, that’s what I think. Battle line. Maybe I should retreat.

Eliza

Parents evening with a new teacher. The discussion begins at a low key, with the teacher explaining levels and targets. Suddenly she leaves the educational jargon: “Eliza is a dream to have in class.” She tells us how Eliza will be challenged to do a high level writing paper, how she leads her mixed ability table, helping them with maths and how she keeps out of all the trouble and name-calling in the playground.

Robin

Robin has tended and harvested a grievance since the start of term. He’s reading books at a lower level than he believes he was last year. He has to be persuaded to read from his allotted book and mumbles the words to indicate his annoyance. At parents evening, L raised this with his teacher who said she would move him straight on to the higher level books. At bedtime, I gave him this news. “What? You told her? No.” I wonder if the grievance was more important to him than reading books at the right level?

Smith come dancing

Eliza announced there would be a dancing competition: her and me against L and Robin. She planned moves and nagged the rest of us to get practising. Our routine featured three lifts – which are I’m sure the reason she likes to dance with me – some dance steps (cha, cha, cha, waltz, etc) and lots of her doing gymnastics moves and me prancing about. L and Robin made good use of props, incorporating an American football and hula-hoop into their routine. There were no judges and we praised each others’ efforts.

A few days earlier, in a return to their deadly duo days, Eliza and Robin had worked on a routine together. This time Robin did the lifts and they performed synchronised forward rolls and cartwheels. They engage in this immersive play together less frequently, which makes it all the more cherishable.

Gabe

I went to my first parents evening at the grammar school. From science to history, art to maths, Gabe’s teachers praised him for his attainment and his enthusiasm. The most gushing was the French teacher, who described him as being a step ahead of whatever was being taught and even at this stage, could clearly seem him as an A Level student. My final head-to-head was with the Technology (Cookery) teacher. Her comments were revealing. She identified that Gabe lacks the confidence to carry out activities unless given precise instructions. She cautioned that this inability to, as she put it, think in a third dimension, would harm his prospects in other studies as he got older. Although the least complimentary, it was also the most helpful comment of the evening.