As schools around the world come to a parental-shattering shut down, teachers around the Southern Hemisphere rejoice. They throw off their collective robes, swat away the last remaining clingers, dance their way to the Xmas party and begin their annual 6 week drinking pilgrimage…….I mean summer holiday.
Families of teachers are particularly happy. They can leave TFA (Teacher’s Family Anonymous) and welcome the parent back. Teachers have devoted the past year to their ‘real’ children. Husbands (myself included) get their wives back. Children get mum back. Laundries start to empty. Meals make a return. A sense of calmness and order blankets the home. Summer is officially here.
Being a teacher is a calling. It’s a passion. It’s far from a job. 50 hour weeks are the norm plus the numerous after hours student issues and internal politics. Teachers are a special, under appreciated breed.
And so it was today, on this last day of school that I saw my sons’ report card. Oh joy of joys. What a waste of paper that is.
I don’t say that lightly. I know what it takes, being a carer, to write a report card.
During the school year the gentle waft of sulphur permeates our walls as the metaphorical magma flows and bubbles through our house. The threat of eruption imminent. The occasional warning siren blares. We panic then reset. But when report cards are due, Vesuvius erupts. Twice a year. Without fail.
God forbid you are in the wake of this molten lava . There is no Tommy Lee Jones to direct fire trucks in its path. No Pierce Brosnan to save the children and The Rock has no first hand experience with volcanoes. Yet.
I suggested maybe starting the report cards earlier – and not leaving it to the last minute. I suggested it once. A long time ago.
Report cards are bland. PC. Fluffy. Wanky. Gone are the days of: “he lacks concentration”; “needs to try harder”; “won’t amount to much”; “he doesn’t apply himself”; “he’s disruptive”; “why Private?”; “did he bang his head when he was young?”“have you considered getting him extra help – because it’s probably a waste of money”; and “don’t expect too much”.
Now it’s all sugar coated………..
“he needs scaffolding”.
Eh. What? Scaffolding? How about I take that scaffolding and beat him with it unless he knuckles down and fucking studies.
“Contributes well to class discussion “
You mean he never shuts up.
“He tries his best”
“challenging maintaining focus”
He’s Walter Mitty. He’s in a different world. Maybe get him to bed earlier and feed him some decent food.
“finds navigating social situations tricky at times”
He beats up the other kids and acts like an arsehole. Can someone please deck him and put him back in his place
“he enjoys technology to assist with his learning”
He’s on his ipad playing a basketball game. And he’s laughing at you.
“when he puts his mind to it”
When I threaten to send him to the headmaster
Physical Education and Sport. Well, that’s always a positive.
Next year a big change. Senior school for my eldest. He won’t know what’s going to hit him. He thinks he has too much homework now. “This shit about to get real.”
We will give them the tools to learn. The best opportunity we can. And they will finally appreciate it when they watch their own kids let all these opportunities go to waste too.
I only hope I’m around long enough to gloat.
And before I skip hand in hand with my wife into the summer sunshine to rekindle our long lost love, I wish a final fuck you very much to Mrs Lang my 5th grade English Teacher who with her red pen and dragonistic tendencies verbally pummelled me into the ground with her vitriol telling me I couldn’t put two sentences together.
Well this 160th-odd blog is for you.
School. Is. Out. (drops mike)