Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Back to school tonight...

It was school interview night tonight, the night when parents were invited into school to interview their childrens teachers and find out just what it is that teachers do these days during the few weeks of the year that they stand at the chalk face and talk out loud to 13 year olds who don't want to listen.

Both parents are supposed to go, all of the teachers assemble in the school hall, sat at a small table each with their name displayed, you are given a list of your childs teachers and you are alloted a time at five minute intervals in which you can sit down and interview them.

This would work out fine if you had eight teachers to see and eight consecutive five minute intervals in which to interview them, it would be even better if they could all sit in a line and you just move your chair down the line every five minutes.

But of course its never like that.

I was presented with my list of eight teachers last night and told that I would be going on my own as my wife and daughter had an appointment at the nail salon tonight, so much for the parental "team" involvement as the school like to describe our partnership in Jodie's education.

When I looked at the list tonight I realised that I'd been stiched up - the first appointment was at 5.05pm, the next at 5.15pm, then the next at 5.55pm - forty minutes to kill in a school hall between interviews, already in that instant I knew that I was not going to hang around for forty minutes.

So I turned up at 5.05pm and saw the first teacher who, as it happened, was Jodies form teacher, the one who is supposed to be responsible for her mentoring this year although he doesn't actually teach her inany classes.

I say "he" but when I walked in the hall (full of parents hustling around the place, squeezing into the rows between the interview desks), I assumed that he was a "she", don't know why but I did, so I walked up and down the aisles of desks ignoring the males and looking at the name badges on all of the female teachers.

Of course I couldn't find him and was just about to head for the door and home again when I spotted his name on a desk, "she" was a "he" of course, and he looked just like Uncle Fester from the Addams Family, just like Uncle Fester.

We spoke for five minutes, we'd seen Jodies school report at the weekend so he didn't tell me anything that was new, the only thing that he could advise me on was that she sometimes came to school with her tie not fastened properly and at the end of the interview that was the only nugget of information that I had managed to extract from him, how pleased I was that I'd driven all the way to the school and given up my evening just so that I could check her school tie in the morning.

I couldn't leave it at that so when he asked if I had any more questions I brought out the parents killer question - homework, you're not giving them enough homework. He promised to check Jodies homework diary and give her more thus consigning me to her "bastard dad" log tonight, its great being a parent when you have the power to do things like that.

So after Uncle Fester it was the music teacher and then the forty minute wait. The music teacher was nowhere to be seen, the desk with its name tag was there, but not the music teacher thus extending my wait for the next interview to forty five minutes.

I did what anyone else would have done - I left the building and drove home, sod the rest of them, I knew what they were going to say anyway, "she needs to focus more, she's easily distracted, she can work very hard but messes around too much" and more of the same.

I came home, ate a bar of chocolate that I found in the fridge (turned out to be Suzannes) and waited for the glamour girls to come back from the nail salon whereupon I berated the school and its interview nights and put the blame on the teachers who didn't turn up and how I'd waited for nearly an hour to see anyone, I think I've got away with it.

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