A stunning morning sky which lasts for just a fleeting moment. If only it lasted longer.
So the online parent evening has been and gone. It was an experience.
So you try to book a 4 minute slot with as many teachers as you can. The booking process felt a bit like a 50% off sale at the local everything for a £1 shop. Chaos. The booking system opens and it’s every parent for themselves. Only so many slots. Survival of the fittest. Unbelievably I managed to book 6 subject chats while only suffering minor superficial damage.
So the evening arrived. Oh what fun. You log into the school system and select parent video chat. Then wait for your slots to arrive. Looking at a blank screen with a helpful timer showing a countdown to your next slot. What would happen. Do we get a fanfare and fireworks when the timer hits zero. Or is it more like the Alien attack in Independence Day. “Times Up”.
Nothing so dramatic. A box appears showing a live video of me. Another bigger box saying ‘awaiting teacher’ and a 4 minute timer appears at the top of the screen. A timer which doesn’t wait for the teacher to arrive, it starts to count down immediately. Then like magic the teacher appears at some stage. Then we chat while the timer rapidly heads towards zero. Helpful on screen messages appear telling me that I have x chat seconds left. Then at zero the screen instantly goes blank. The chat is terminated automatically. Then another timer appears telling me when my next chat will begin.
So what did I learn from the process.
- The dog is guaranteed to bark as soon as the first chat starts and the big boy cat will try to position himself between you and the camera. The helpful big fella will then start to attend to his undercarriage in front of the camera.
- Just how off putting it is to see your own face while your trying to chat. I should be thinking about Hawklads education and future yet what am I thinking…. ‘wow I’m ugly’. Maybe I should buy a George Clooney mask for the next one. But at least I combed my hair. That’s something which is seemingly beyond our PMs abilities.
- It’s important to test out where I should sit for the chat. What is behind me and in full view of the teacher. Maybe I should have a Union Jack flag on the wall just like the bozo’s running our country now must have for every fire side chat. Or maybe a collection of high brow books neatly stacked on a shelf just over my shoulder. This time over my shoulder was a shelf with DVDs on. What made it worse was the dvd in plain sight of the teacher. Deadpool. Says it all.
- Why do some teachers have the ability with just a steely look to get you to instantly sit up straight
- With only 4 minutes on the clock it’s important to drop things like ‘hello’, ‘good to meet you’ or ‘shall I repeat that’.
- 4 minutes is only just long enough to get an update on this terms performance and splutter out ‘in terms of option can we discuss…’ before the time runs out and the Aliens blow up the Whitehouse.
- But when your mind goes blank, 4 minutes feels like an eternity.
- How difficult is it for me to keep my head in the camera shot. Too many times it was either just my chest or the top of my head appearing. When I did remember to stay vaguely in shot the teacher would then start moving in and out if shot. Unbelievably when they moved out of the screen I would automatically try to move with them as if that would get the teacher to reappear. Madness.
So that was it. It went too quickly. Now it’s a week before next years options are submitted. Much thinking to be done. But maybe I should have tried Hawklads approach. Play on the Xbox and go with the flow. Yep that sounds a much better use of 4 minutes.