Posts Tagged ‘teacher’

School visits

Gabe

Summer of year 5 and L & I take Gabe on visits to five secondary schools in two weeks. With L at All Boys Grammar South, Gabe frets at its serious academic air, won’t participate and pesters to be taken home. At Grammar North, he’s tight-lipped and anxious to keep moving, his warning to me not to talk to teachers futile. Outside, he regains his fluency and slams to school for trying to be too perfect. At Grammar West, we meet his friend R on the way in who tells us it’s a great school. Maybe freed by this approval, or simply because it is a great school, he relaxes enough to play keyboard in the music studio. For the understandable reasons of its distance from home and that his friends won’t be going there, Gabe isn’t keen. Then to Grammar Local for an over-crowded tour of its unimpressive estate. Gabe gushes – what a great school. It is, but his senses while looking around the schools haven’t been allowed to challenge his preconceptions. Finally, to Secondary Modern Local, and Gabe concludes he wants to go to a grammar school.

Eliza

I took the kids to Crocky Trail, a health and safety-free park featuring large rides made from decommissioned industrial machinery and a long trail that follows and crosses a muddy stream. While the boys ran ahead, Eliza paddled in the mud, traversed the stream on chain bridges and savoured the experience. But in quick succession, she was kicked on the hand, dumped by Robin from a wobbly barrel into a puddle and dived face-first into a roundabout. Upset and asking to go home, I assessed the degree of her discomfort with the ice cream test. A vanilla cone, with flake and raspberry sauce, was an effective remedy for a sore face.

Robin

Robin’s reception year report was full of positive comment from his teachers: ‘always motivated to explore new activities and resources.’ ‘contributes well to group discussions and is keen to share his broad general knowledge.’ ‘he has shown he can persevere with even the most challenging activities’. ‘He is always proud of his achievements.’ ‘Robin has excelled in phonics’. Across 13 dimensions of attainment, Robin scored 109 out of a maximum of 117.

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Star-gazing

Robin

Robin’s antipathy towards books was short-lived. His current favourite at bedtime is an educational book on the solar system, the galaxy and beyond. While he has a focus on the present, the timescales and distances (apparently, the same thing) described in this book impress him and make him uneasy, even if they are beyond his, and my, comprehension. So he knows that Jupiter has 60 moons, some planets have no hard surfaces, lumps of rock speed through space, blue stars are the hottest and that at some point in the past it all began with a bang and at some point in the future it could all end in one.

Eliza

Just as a report warned parents not to push their children towards the books they had enjoyed when young, Eliza has had a phase of reading books written for L and my generation and those before us. Eliza has completed Enid Blyton’s Naughtiest Girl in the School series and has just finisted Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes. She has read and listened with an open mind, undeterred by unfamiliar dialogue, behaviours and objects featured in these books.

Gabe

Gabe’s intelligence is recorded and celebrated in these posts. Here are a couple of recent situations which remind us that he is inexperienced and can seem naive.

Gabe said to me that he would like to find out more about ancient China but there was little written about it. I said that I thought there were books – where had he looked? G: In the horrible histories.

Off school for a day while his teachers struck over the Government’s plans to reform teachers’ pensions, L asked him if he knew why they had gone on strike. He said that he wasn’t sure, but had discussed it with a classmate and had decided it was probably about healthy eating. Gabe had read as a word the acronym for his teachers’ union: NUT.

Class teacher’s comments

Teacher's class comments

Hall party

Robin

We held Robin’s fifth birthday party in a large, traditional wooden-floored, community hall. He and nine lads keenly contested running, dancing and spinning games, while two girls clung to their mothers. The party-goers kept up the pace for two hours and remained good tempered and well-behaved throughout. Not a single tear of frustration, upset or anger was shed. Most of Robin’s presents were jigsaw and/or Star Wars themed, as they had been at his family birthday tea two nights earlier at Pizza Hut. In fact, Robin was irked at any presents that didn’t stick to this theme.

Eliza

Eliza and her friend A provided my highlight of the party. They performed a dance routine to a tune they know from school ‘Wake up and shake up’. They sashayed from left to right, spun and kicked. Ten little boys competed with focus and fervour to match the older girls’ moves and win the prize.

Gabe

The series of Gabe’s excellent school reports continued at L and my meeting with his class teacher. Mr R, gently camp and sporting knitwear, enthused over Gabe’s ability, speed of learning, attentiveness, general knowledge and openness to a challenge. He indulged himself, but even more, us, with a speculation about what Gabe could be in 20 years time: a chemist, a linguist, a mathemetician, anything. He was as surprised as every teacher has been when we’ve mentioned how overwrought Gabe can be about school, and homework in particular, and promised to speak to Gabe about this.