It’s raining it’s pouring…

It’s a good job the school has a good roof. Sound like a hat might be a good option but not for the kids….

Dad do we have to go”

Yes son it’s the parents evening. I get to see how close you are to being expelled.

Really”

No Son sorry bad joke. We shouldn’t be too long. Assuming we get to see a teacher you only get 5 minutes per subject.

That’s hardly enough time to say hello and try to remember the teachers name”

Yes I know. It wasn’t my fault last time. (At his last school where he only had one teacher and had been taught by him for 3 years – I managed to forgot his name at two parent evenings.)

*****************************

Its a bit of Bear Pit at this schools parent evening. In the canteen the teachers sit at desks on the outside. Meanwhile the parents and kids stand in the middle and wait for a free teacher slot. It’s like being in a pack of hungry vultures scanning the Savannah for prey. When a teacher becomes free then full scale greco roman wrestling combat breaks out for the prized two free seats at the desk. It’s brutal.

*****************************

I really am crap at these evenings. Feel really awkward and ask the most stupid questions. I turn up with nowt whereas other parents have brought a camel train worth of books and papers.

The first teacher we saw was the French Teacher. Really very nice. Apparently our sons dyslexia is much less pronounced with French. Bizarre.

The second teacher clearly didn’t have the slightest clue about dyslexia. He was very old school. Reminded me of my old History teacher. The grumpy old bugger would call all the kids by their first names but that’s where the approachability ended. Strangely he only called one kid by his surname. One of my friends was called Robert Dosser. The teacher took great delight in calling the poor kid ‘Dosser’. Anyway tonight it was 5 minutes of thinking if I should call this teacher ‘Mr Nolan’ (Dead Poets Society), or ‘Miss Trunchbull’ (Matilda) or just ‘Tosser’.

The next teacher was really switched on with Dyslexia and Aspergers. Great chat and real hope. She had started trying a few new teaching methods with our son.

“Dad you do know she is leaving in the soon to go to a different school”

Bugger…..

Three more subjects followed. More pointless questions from Dad. Anyway more evidence of some progress. With the exception of one teacher, school is doing no work on his dyslexia. Worryingly English is the worst offender. Most teachers are just trying to work round it. Many subjects have abandoned the use of a pen and are trying to get our son to use the iPad for work. Only problem is that the iPad just can’t accurately speech recognise the Yorkshire accent. If you look at the list of supported Apple languages – Yorkshire isn’t there.

As the evening progressed I particularly liked running to a free table only to be disappointed to find no teacher. It was where you were supposed to leave your coffee cups…

The other parents seem to be seeing so many more teachers than me.

“How many have we seen Dad”

Six. I know you are getting bored now. Let’s see one more and go.

A teacher became free and I pounced. That showed the other parents. As I sit down our son whispered

This is art”

Shit. Why did it have to be art. This is so far out of my comfort zone it’s unreal. I literally have nothing to say.

Long awkward silence as the art teacher stares at me. Finally I blurt out.

He really likes art…. (he hates it)

Do you think he should practice at home …….(that’s just as bad)

Is it better to use pencils or paintbrushes ……. (that’s it I’m spent)

Teacher explains that he’s doing really well and has improved so much since his first painting homework. The teacher sighs and says it wasn’t very good. Son looks daggers at me. He was struggling to do his first painting which was supposed to be a version of a Henri Rousseau piece. I volunteered to help. It was a disaster.

Dad why are you painting that snake yellow with stripes”

Because it’s a tiger…. the painting got worse. The teacher comments are etched on my mind ‘need to try harder’. Since then he’s never asked for art help again and his marks have improved.

Eventually our 5 minutes is up and we both agreed to sneak out to the car. It was still raining. It’s Spring you know.

83 thoughts on “Nothing to say

  1. Yes, those kind of parent teacher contests are a bit intimidating. I remember asking a teacher why she gave my son a D in Algebra. She said she didn’t give him a D, he earned it. He hadn’t turned in something like 35 assignments. That took the wind right out of my sails. Later, I wondered what he would have to do to get an F??!! 🙂 Obviously, my son was not trying in that class!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have been there and done that when my kids were in school. I was never the one to ask clever questions. My pet question was “ Does my child needs to make up in any field/ subject “

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I always found those parent evenings painful and they really just seemed to be a case of the school fulfilling their obligation to keep you informed but in the most cost effective and shortest way possible!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Gary – that bit about the iPad. It is SO true. I don’t speak with a Yorkshire accent but with a Lincolnshire one. But my App makes all kinds of mistakes because I don’t speak Queens English. Yet Ivwill soon be completely reliant upon this App. Oh boy, that school really does need to learn something! I had to smile at the history teacher though, because ALL history teachers seem to be like that. Ours were. ALL of them. And I have met many hustory huffs since those days, and they seem to be just the same. What IS it about history? And as for ART! Well, aaaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhh! I used to get thrown out of art class! Sounds like a really uninspiring evening Gary. Sad about the teacher who is leaving though. Wouldn’t you just know it. That’s always my kind of luck too! Enjoy the rain lol. Cwe’ve got it here too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an absolute scream when we try to ask Alexa a question. It’s like we are speaking a different language. I remember Jeremy Clarkson reviewing this fantastic car. He said it was brilliant apart from one one. The voice recognition doesn’t speak Yorkshire…. Hope you are sort of ok today. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m fine today Gary. After my horrible experience of the other day. I actually slept last night too. Please don’t be put off me. I don’t REALLY bite. That’s the dog’s job! I know just what you mean though. Flippin’ aps can be amazing but they can be damned frustrating too

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The Parents-Teachers evening sounds a nightmare. I think I’m going to be given appointments but that could meaning having to hang around for three hours!!! I hope I’m not put in the position of having to ask questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. His dyslexia is better in French? That is bizarre? Or, as they say in France: – Bizarre!

    I love your son’s astute and somewhat acerbic observations!! 🙂

    Nice going with the Art Teacher, Dude! 😉

    On a personal note: I have to say – your blog is just getting better and better, the quality of the writing is outstanding. You have a wonderful way of portraying some difficult personal issues and situations in a way that people can easily relate to and enjoy reading.

    You almost make it sound like ‘fun’ 🙂

    Did you ask any of them for some of your son’s benefit money back??

    Liked by 4 people

  6. My parents never attended the sporadic few parents evenings I had as a kid. Except one. My Dad was furious that some Maths homework that he has helped me to work out, had been marked incorrect. He went to tackle ‘Mr Drinkwater,’ an opera-singing task master who would push our noses into our books, pressing his hand into the back of our necks, whilst singing ‘Figaro’ at full volume. He was an abominable teacher. His explanation to my father was, yes, the figure was correct, but my students have not learned the concept of repeating numbers (exponential fraction) yet, therefore her answer was not valid… It was cheating. Red-faced, my father said to me “don’t ever ask me to help you with your homework ever again.”

    It does sound like a tiny bit of improvement for your son. Pity that the good teacher is leaving… They are so few.
    Don’t worry about forgetting teacher names… They won’t remember yours now either. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      1. If it is any consolation to you and your son, I learned more on my own, outside of school, than I ever did inside one. The key is to find an interest that makes one want to learn all about it. I was a late reader. I struggled with words, spelling and all sorts, but once I found that words led to learning stuff in the Britannica Encyclopedia, I made a real effort. I hope your son gets help with his dyslexia. He needs lots of encouragement and tools to help him. I remember, for years, using a little bookmark card to hold under each line of type, and reading very slowly to stop the words swimming. Even now, I often have to go back and reread paragraphs as I realise that I have got the wrong message. Doesn’t stop me reading, but does make it a bit slower than the average reader. Mostly, predictive text helps when writing… Gobbeldy gook comes out a lot otherwise.

        Can your son get his head around spatial concepts? (I. E. Can he do jigsaw puzzles easily?) If so, he could learn to touch type… Often easier to touch the keys without looking at them. Need a real keyboard though.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh my gosh, I am sorry – you had me giggling with what happened with the art teacher 🙂 Hey, you went. Big step. I try to avoid those meetings and probably get marked down on the “bad parent” list 🙂 So, good job for showing up!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Robyn. I suppose it allowed me to put a bit more pressure on school. It was rather bizarre. Son noticed this as well. It was mainly mums attending by themselves. The dads who did come seemed to be attending as a couple. I could be wrong but in our spell I was the only single dad there. I thought times were changing….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The dads possibly still have work commitments they can’t get out of, whereas the women either have more flexible work or they find it easier to ask.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Not really.
        My French teacher said I was great at French…I told my parents she was odd, and that she would rattle on in French and then leave the classroom and come back twenty minutes later and become upset because nobody had done the work she had set out. But that was because nobody understood her French.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I also had a difficult maths teacher when I was in Year 9. I had won the BT Maths Challenge for the school and was getting 100% in every maths exam but he gave me a C- for effort and told my parents I was not trying hard enough. I reckon it was because he was pedantic. He had a very specific way he wanted us to write out our workings out and then underline out answer twice with a red pen. He and I did not get on at all.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. I’m interested in the various language dialects…you may know the Swiss German is an entierly different language from German spoken in Germany (which has its own diverse dialects…) Perhaps I will search out some accents on youtube to hear some of the differences between the various English sounds and expressions. 😉

    As far as the technology is concerned regarding recognition? Can’t help you there, sorry. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well…well it hit a low point, learning I was out of the running for the full-time. So I went to the next town’s school district office to inquire if they need subs, and they were all YEEEEEEEEEEEEEES! So here’s hoping I can get some steady work this fall with kids and teens, which…hopefully I’ll like. I mean, I want to write for those ages, so I really should interact with them, shouldn’t I? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That would be so good for you. I really hope it comes off. How would you do for childcare if you worked in the next district? Round here there is nothing really I can find that works any better than my current role (only just getting enough money in) but the next option is the next city which would mean leaving house at 7 and getting back at 6. Just not an option anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh that’s the beauty of it! The next town’s only 3 miles away, so it’s a super-short trip; Blondie’s school is near there, actually. Plus, by working for the school district, I’d in essence be working during the school days, when the three Bs are in school. So no need for extra childcare! It’s just a matter of getting by until September. My current term of college students takes me through the end of June, and chances are pretty good I’ll have at least one class in July and August, so hopefully we’ll be okay.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It does. We’re in a strange hovel of little towns, all just a few miles apart, but none of them big enough to really sustain much. People just prefer to travel that half hour to the capital, or the hour or so to Milwaukee. Farming communities, I suppose.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Has anyone mentioned Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences to you? Help him take on everything he has an interest in and he will soon find what his path is. There is too much focus on classroom based academic learning. Check out Ken Robertson’s ted talk “Do schools kill creativity” you won’t be disappointed. Children are not pegs meant to slot into premade outdated holes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A great description of the trauma of parents evening. My wife was reduced to tears a couple of years ago, and the teacher had a box of tissues on the desk… what does that tell you?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I wonder why some teachers have chosen this profession if they do not know what teaching really is: you’re there to first and foremost understand your student in order to open up his mind to new learning. You’re not going to go very far if you cannot discern what makes the kid click. Even if you can’t connect with a child on all points, you’ve got to meet him on at least one and work up from there.

    Like

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