This week has seen parents' evening in my school, which has meant me working until 8pm two nights. I'm not going to lie, it's exhausting, especially when one of those days fell on a work day and I'd been in school since 8am. However it's part of the job so I deal with it. As a parent now I realise how important these sessions are, and am far more compassionate than I was pre-child.
However, as The Boy is also in my school now, it meant that we weren't able to have our own parents' evening on the same day, and therefore saw his teacher on Tuesday after school. Yes, he had a good report and yes I am proud of him, but yesterday when I sat down to talk with him about his targets, I had an epiphany.
Five years old.
Of course I'm unbelievably pleased with his reading age of 8 years and 5 months, and spelling age of 8 years 3 months. Of course I am. And I am unbelievably pleased that after weeks of perseverance and trying as hard as possible, he finally managed to do his seven sums within the twenty second time limit. The cursive handwriting he's using is wonderful, and I'm so proud he's beginning to master it, particularly as he's left-handed.
But he's five.
I realised this wholly when I had laid him back in my arms to talk with him about the fact that one of his teachers would like him to write more than the eight sentence targets she sets him. I looked at his face, at his hair that I'd smoothed to the side as I was talking to him, and I looked into his eyes. And I stopped. Because in those eyes, I saw a flicker of future concern, the whisper of potential anxiety, a hint of hidden defeatism, and there is no way on this Earth that I will allow them to surface and take hold of my son.
There is no way that I will allow our child to think he's not doing well enough. Not when I have spent my life trying to please others and prove my worth. Not when my husband was once asked where the other 3% was in test results. Not our son.
The Boy is doing well enough, because he's enjoying school. He's got a close circle of five friends, and they are funny, friendly and confident boys who have welcomed him with open arms. He comes home and he tells me what he's done that day, something he's never done before. I watch him from my classroom window while he's laughing and playing tag, and I feel so content in the knowledge that he's enjoying life.
So what am I taking from this term's parent's evening?
I'm taking from it that he is happy, engaged, fulfilled and friendly. And those targets? Well, that's what the teachers are for. Me? I'm here to cuddle and reassure him. To play with, cook with, kiss him before bed, and be there when he wakes. I'm a teacher but I'm not his teacher; I'm his mummy.
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