What do we want to know on Parents Evening?

What do we want to know on Parents Evening?

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I’ve been to most of my children’s parents evenings in primary school but I had to miss my youngest sons one this last week so my husband went instead. This was the rant he put on Facebook as a result and I absolutely loved it – definitely agree and many people have commented too about their similar experiences:

“Completely Baffled….. I had the privilege of attending T’s parents evening tonight at school (Year 6 Junior School) – I honestly didn’t really understand any of the long words like “Connectives and Compound Words” “Number Bondage” and “number squares” I mean It was all I could do to stay awake listening to it all… and then its all about National Curriculum levels which defy logic to me – I mean if its about progression why is it that a child starts life at level 1 then progresses to 2 and on to 3 etc but in between it all goes wrong as the alphabet goes backwards according to a chart I found – 1, 2c, 2b, 2a, 3c, 3b, 3a, 4c, 4b, 4a, etc… madness and seriously why should I be interested – I just want him to be enjoying school at this age and discovering how cavemen discovered fire or how cool it was when someones voice travelled through wires for the first time, what happens when you make a potato battery with different conductors, what was world war one and two all about, and how to google stuff he wants to find out about because he is challenged to be curious about his world (current excitement is all about bearded dragon reptiles, tsunamis, global weather and “cover fails” on youtube)… Seriously I get the whole education bit – and his school is brilliant but if I come into the school show me his paper mache volcano or WW1 trench diorama and tell me how he loves to be curious..Less of the boring meaningless to me anyway numbers!! – Final question from me was is he having fun and what can we do to help….. – “Yes he is having fun when he concentrates” and “He could do with a water bottle as water every now and again will help him concentrate”….. seriously – what is wrong with cups and taps…. “ooh cups are a hygiene problem so we can’t offer them those”… ok what about the old simple head under the tap then… “ooh no I wouldn’t want them to do that with the taps here in their toilets – very unhygienic”…. Water Fountain maybe?… “nope don’t have one”… OK so I will send him with 100 plastic throw away cups to keep in his drawer then in case he needs some water to aid his concentration…. “that’s a good idea – or just tell him to remember his water bottle every day” GRRRR really – Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to go to parents evening any more – and don’t get me started on the mini chairs they make you squat on!!!”

Of course for all you teachers out there you’re feeling sorry for my sons teacher right now aren’t you? My husband can be very funny at times but I totally agree with him on these comments – why is it all made so complicated? and why is there so little on whether our children enjoy learning and are having fun?? Something seems to have gone a rye somewhere…..when did life have to become so serious for children? I’m reading a book by Alfie Kohn at the moment which talks about creating engaging environments for children so that they learn – for my youngest he is naturally curious and wants to learn but sometimes due to his rough start in life he needs alternative ways of learning then the traditionally academic styles we use. If only we would spend more time in creating a fun environment where difference is celebrated instead of trying to mould little clones I’m sure we’d find some amazing, funny, creative and inspiring children would emerge.

Just to finish my husbands story of parents evening after many comments about how much he was ranting he wrote:-

“I really didn’t mean it as a rant – I just want to reassure you that my frustration is with the crazy measurement systems that seem to have taken over the asylum and not with the teachers at all… BUT… I would say that if you are a teacher us mere mortal parents haven’t got the first clue about all the big words and models of learning that you tell us about at parents evenings… it means nothing to me and quite honestly I don’t care what level, subgroup or sublevel below or above my son is related to the number bondage connective sentences…. its BORING and quite honestly all that mumbo jumbo is between you and OFSTED and simply a measurement of your performance relevant to internal powers… ‘Know your customer’… the simple parent juggling morning showers, packed lunches who’s picking up who and which friend is which while squeezing in some random reading and homework just trying to bundle them out to school warm, happy and without a meltdown because one of them has the others glove or something…. When I the parent are sat in front of you the teacher tell me fun stuff that they are doing and how my child is learning, what I can practically do to help them continue their curiosity and enjoy learning… I mean I can’t get them from a 4c up to a 4a can I because I don’t have a clue what that means…. If you are a teacher doing parents evenings spare a moment and think about that person sat in front of you and the words spouting out of your mouth as if you are chatting about stuff with peers in the staff room… Find a way to engage ME in our joint task of education…Doh… I ranted again didn’t I but I found it all so frustrating”.

I think he’s said it all….

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