It’s that time of year again!
Towards the end of the report, there’s always that bit. I imagine most people race to it, scan through the words because they know the last page is where the good stuff’s at. They probably don’t, this is just what I imagine. There’s a table that marks where your child’s at in Writing, Reading, Maths and Science. Ours looks like this:
I tend to not bother about it. I used to though. I’d see lots of statuses which brag “So proud of Janet* for her school report, well above expected in all areas, I must be doing something right!” And each year, I’d do my annual school report tweet. “Be proud, but don’t be a c*nt.” I mean, I’m sure you are doing something right, but saying that suggests we, the mothers and fathers of under-achievers/us mere mortals/the lesser people, are doing it all wrong, right?
Wrong. We’re doing it excellently. Don’t read those statuses and take them as a personal insult. That’s what I used to do, and no one wants to be like old me. Every parent has the right to be proud of their child and you can go on and write your very own status to say “YES HE STOPPED PISSING HIS PANTS” and fucking own it, no matter what his age is, if that was a struggle for him before and he’s gone on to overcome it this year. If we’re helping them at home and we’re attentive and caring, we’re all doing it right.
So, to my fellow parents of under-achieving children; fret not. Maybe because they’ve always been behind from being little babies, they have harder to work, further to catch up and they would literally have to jump up four levels to ever be an over-achiever. Maybe the over-achieving child has stayed at the same spot since reception. Climbing up an academic mountain is surely more difficult than keeping along the same path at a good pace.
I ended up so bitter towards other parents in the playground I now have pretty much zero mum-friends. I cringe a bit when I read my old blog posts back where I was particularly ranty about other mums, because as much as they shut me out, I shut them out too. I stopped making an effort because I didn’t want to hear about the great things their kids did. But just because mine isn’t learning a second language or how to crotchet does not mean she can’t do great things.
Beating yourself up about a score on a page is not worth it. And that’s all it is – a compulsory marking scheme the government put in place to measure attainment within schools. It’s not a personal reflection on your parenting technique and they’re not really “under-achievers”, either. Think of everything they can do.
Did they learn to ride a bike this year? Have they suddenly started making up puns and turning into little comedy geniuses? Did they actually put their toys away the other day? They’re all amazing achievements.
The system of “it’s not good enough unless we’re not going above and beyond, upping everyone else and winning” is bullshit. Education shouldn’t be a competition.
Read the report, but ignore sentences such as “behind age related expectancy” if they make you feel like poop, because they shouldn’t. Look for things like “she is a cheerful, cheeky and mischievous member of our class with a delightful smile,” (best comment ever) or “has made excellent progress in reading” (stick that up your below expected pipe and smoke it).
Also, if you’re a bit shit like me, ignore the number of late marks too.
*Names changed to protect identities of hypothetical children. Obviously no one’s naming their kid Janet, it’s 2017.
But if you want to, that’s fine.