Generally, I like to write stuff on my blog that is light hearted with the occasional something else thrown in for a little variety. It keeps me entertained and hopefully keeps a few others entertained. Then, of course, there are the times I have to write because I am MAD. Like today.
MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD!
And not the funny mad I mean the mad "If I had a cruise missile it wouldn't be in safe hands" mad.
This is because last night was parents evening. That day of the year when I turn from a mild mannered jovial woman into a raving lunatic ready to spear any passing teacher.
Now Young Sam is 20 now so I would say that for the last 13 years I have been consistently disappointed by the feedback I get at parent's evenings. Last night was no exception.
So first things first. On arrival at school I look through Master Ben's books to see how he is doing - as well as to see if his teachers can be bothered to mark them. How well the teachers mark his books usually dictates how mad I am going to get in the following interview.
The first thing I see is Ben's maths book - and the teacher has marked it. Excellent. So that's a gold star and I'm reasonably happy. However, as I'm flicking through I notice that for one of the comments his teacher has written..
"Don't forget to use your rula!"
That's "ruler" folks. As in the measuring instrument. I'm not sure what the other "rula" is but I'm pretty darn sure it has no place in my son's maths book.
You know, I think this "rula" incident is worse than the "phamlet" (pamphlet) incident. I mean it's not just poor spelling - I suspect that "rula" is actually a novelty spelling like "skool".
Do you think novelty spellings are meant to make school more fun? If so, perhaps next time I write to the school I shall write "skool" in the address. I think that will make my letters even more entertaining.
So the interview commences. I say my piece about novelty spellings. And then the teacher tells Mr T and I that Ben's geography and maths homework has been "inconsistent" and reads out a statement from Ben which basically is akin to "I have been a very bad boy and not done all my geography homework."
I imagine it was done in some Gestapo-like setting under the pain of having his teeth extracted or, even worse, threatened with a skool meal.
So Mr T and I raise our concerns - Why does no one appear to collect the homework? There's plenty of stuff hanging around in his skool bag that's for sure. Why is it never marked? Is it Ben's responsibility to hand it in? What is the punishment if he doesn't? Why hasn't he ever had the punishment then? And so on...
So the teacher assures us everything is being done according to procedures. She checks his diary to ensure homework has been set and has been done, follows it up with other teachers if it hasn't and duly signs his homework diary every week. All very diligent and correct.
"Do you have any other concerns Mr and Mrs Turley?"
"Yes," I say looking despondently down at his results. "These results aren't good enough for a bright child."
Cue another talk about how the teachers do all they can, follow procedures etc etc.
Mr T and I are duly humbled. Everything is being done as it should be. Master Ben is just a lazy, lazy boy. A lazy boy who is, perhaps surprisingly, also a high performance athlete at 11 years old who trains 6 days a week.
I go home and pull out Master Ben's diary ready to chide myself for not being a good enough mother. Again.
I check back through the diary.
Out of a total 19 weeks this skool year his teacher has signed his diary only four times and that includes the first week of term which was only 3 days.
I feel a letter to skool coming on. Because you know what? Our education system is failing our children. And whilst I would certainly not want to tar all teachers with the same brush - it might be a good idea to employ some teachers who are at least smart enough to cover their own failings.