Where do you start with school? Well it’s called Kindergarten in NSW if you want to be literal! But in our case, here we are at the end of Year 8 of High School. The last year of junior high school for us. It’s so hard with all the mandatory subjects to get through before you get to the ones you are really interested in. If they are actually running the ones you are interested in, of course. And so we have had Awards Day. Earlier in the year (around the end of Semester One – otherwise known as Term Two) I had a mega whinge about the Principal going on about ‘Academic, Academic, Academic’ I had to seriously restrain myself from inflicting my opinions of his academic slant on him…….I just inflicted them on my blog audience instead. Very good of you all to listen – Thanks. I was planning to send him a precise of my blog post prior to the Awards Day but didn’t get around to it – keep that in mind for later.
I did phone up earlier in the year to complain that my daughter had not been mentioned in a sporting activity along with all the others……..well, I don’t expect to get mentioned for driving her in and out both days of the w/e to attend, but if you are noting the participants then you’ve missed one. That may have given them a clue that I was keeping tabs. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Awards included not only the Academic, the Academic, and the Academic. But also, the Sporting, The Participation (at district level only), and even the Helping in the Canteen. Oh, and the Attendance above 90% and 95% (that one was a bit scary….I started trying to remember how many Mental Health Days I’d given my daughter this term!) I’m pleased to report that she had above 90% attendance for this Semester. TG – scary stuff! She was given a Merit Award for Dragon Boat Racing (there was no mention of her leading the Cheeky Remarks to one of the Private School Teachers during the race, nor the sinking of the wig from another boat TG! And you thought it was all about Upper Arm Strength and Co-ordination………….pmsl how wrong you would be!
And so the young lady in question got a credit for Visual Arts, a merit award for dragon boat racing and an award for above 90% attendance. Heaven help me, I’ll have to get the maths tutor to tell me how many days she can have off next semester without endangering that 90% now. Parenting is such a stressful part of life!
And then there’s the Annual School Report. OMG it’s so stressful. I do TG that it is only one now and not three – let’s just be thankful for small mercies!
Looking at the big picture – it’s not all bad. B’s and C’s. For those not in NSW – C’s are where you are meant to be. C is Average. Knows what they are meant to know.
But reports are fraught with problems. There’s the grade A-E. There’s the Effort 1-5. There’s the remark. And there’s the Boxes – Usually/Sometimes/Never?
You will notice that teachers who do not like your child/teen, and those who do not like confrontation will give your child/teen a C grade. Often with 3 or less on effort, and a lot of sometimes, and a few nevers. They will never give a seriously good or bad mark as they then have the spectre of Parents to contend with. I do get a bit of omg out of the remarks and marks of ‘don’t like me’ teachers lol. It is a bit of a worry though when your child is 9/31 in a class and their mark in exam was only 56/100. I know it’s a pass; and I’m already paying for tutoring in that subject (not soon enough), but look at it. 9/31 and it is the 2nd top class for that subject. I’m not impressed. But do the parents of 10-31 realise where their kids are in the big picture? Maybe, maybe not. Since it’s the only subject where the place in class and the exam results are given I’m thinking that the teacher is trying to give us a heads up. That’s hard. Mainly because we had the best teacher this year. It’s all going to be ‘tutor to the rescue’ from here on in, with that subject.
On the funny side, the science teacher mentioned a few complimentary attributes, along with a sense of humour………oh well, he has one too! Pity none of the rest do, so we will be swimming against the current there next year.
So mainly, here we will be working on being more consistent, more organised, more on time with our assignments……….GHU I have a wall planner! Hope they’ll give me my money back if it doesn’t help!
It seems from the Awards this semester that I may not have been the only parent who felt that what the kids/teens achieved was important, whether it was academic or sporting. I do wonder if it was just a token thing though. When we first went to the school in question the whole of one side of the hall was filled with the classes, and a little overflow to the other side, so the parents had to get up close and personal with each other. This friday there were quite a few empty rows on the ‘kids’ side of the hall.
Are the kids less impressive? Or are our regulations not recognising their strengths? I worried all the way through the Awards Ceremony. What do the kids who don’t come to the Awards feel like as they go about their normal class routine without a percentage of their peers? Is it rewarding those who achieve? Or putting the boot into those who don’t? And I can’t help thinking that those who aren’t achieveing right now are probably the ones who need the most support, rather than the least.
I’m also thinking of all those times that my kids have sat x legged on the floor for hours, watching other people getting awards, with no expectation that they would get anything. You only got things for being great, or for being really difficult and maybe getting slightly easier. I often worried how my kids, and others would feel after watching the same kids getting awards every year without any hope or even interest in getting any themselves. And now, I’m wondering. Is it better that the ‘un-achievers’ stay in class and don’t have to show their ability to cope with utter boredom, or is it more segregation, more of what they expect.
My child/teen still at school is not top of the year. Nor bottom. But when I see the Awards it’s not just my child I’m concerned about………..it’s all our children. ATM mine might be in the ‘ok’ part. But I think that we should value all our children. Those who are great! Those who are mediocre! Those who struggle! In fact, I would bet a fortnights pay that those who struggle do more work, suffer more stress, have more long term effects, than those who do well or ok.
I so want all our kids to know that they are AWESOME! Whether you are a super achiever, superbly average, or struggling to understand how life can be worthwhile………..you are Awesome, and you should know it!
Viva la difference! Now where’s the school with that for a motto? If I was a praying sort of person I’d say ‘Please God let our children know we value them for who they are.’ So often we don’t say, or they don’t hear. I wish they could.