The dichotomy of being a teacher and a parent: Part 1

My husband and I are both at the worry stage in the school year.  You may think that this is due to us both being teachers and our own commitments to the term we have coined the ‘working’ term, however it actually stems from our eldest son.

Our eldest child is an August baby and is currently in Year 2. SATS year! At such an early age these tests are going to predict what his 3 levels of progress will be by year 6. It will  therefore predict (assuming he meets his targets) what set he is going to be in when he starts high school, what his end of KS3 result will be even as far as what FFTD will predict he will get at GCSE and potentially A level. He’s 6. In many European countries this would have been his first actual year at school and for some he wouldn’t have even started. Yet he is about to be assessed and predictions made about the rest of his school life.

Being ‘those’ parents we requested a meeting with his classroom teacher to see where he was at and what particular areas he needed to improve on. We are lucky that his classroom teacher is sympathetic to our manic nature and was able to give us a break down of data that we required to put our mind at rest.

Yet in the same week I was the ‘teacher’ for my schools Year 7 parents evening. The shoe was now on the other foot.   I dutifully entered the school hall with all the data which they may ask of me, where are they working at? What should they be achieving by the end of the year key stage? etc.  Although questions were asked by some on data the vast majority were most interested in the wellbeing and happiness of their child. Were they liked? Did they enjoy the lesson? Are they well behaved? Did they fit in? Granted, this week I have Year 11 parents evening and I know that the questions I will be asked will certainly be much more data driven but it made me realise how parents want a well-rounded child. A child who shows compassion, cares and knows right from wrong.

On the drive home it dawned on me. Both my husband and myself have become so much part of the machine that we have both placed data and achievement above those really important questions.  Had we asked our own child’s class teacher those all important nurturing questions?  Our eldest son is an amazing little boy (naturally we are biased) but we often forget how loving he is, how well he looks after his younger brothers and funny he can be, if at times not always intentionally.  We need to remember this, and stop focusing on those little numbers which he will get at the end of the year.

Taking on from @MartynReah   #teacher5aday I would like to focus mine on #child5aday. We need to spend more time and look at our own children and realise what amazing characters they are. We need to #Connect with them and spend the time to get to know them, #Volunteer our time to do what they want to do rather than what we feel they should do. #Nurture their personality #Learn about what drives them and what their ambitions are and finally #Learn to de-stress and enjoy our children for the wonderful people they are becoming. The data in some respects is out of our hands but getting to know who our own children are and developing emotionally intelligent human beings isn’t.