Friday, 14 October 2011

Our Journey to School.

The photos are gloomy snaps of our 16mile journey to school yesterday evening as it was starting to get dark, so apologies for the blur.

Yesterday evening was on one of my least favourite parental responsibilities...parents evening. I hate them with a passion and as my youngest child is now in the 6th form, it came as a bit of a shock to me that I still had them to attend.
I didn't think to start taking photos until we were about a third of the way through our 16 mile journey, but I thought you might like to see what the hills looks like on a gloomy October evening about 6pm-ish.

We'll be driving right down that valley in front of us, from Yorkshire over to Cumbria. This is our nearest school with a 6th form and #2 does this journey there and back every weekday on the school bus.

My objection to parents evening is that they seem to be a waste of time, both mine and the teachers. I've been enduring them for 12 years now so I'd like to think that I'm entitled to my rather negative opinion of them. Now then my two beautiful children have always been shall we say average at school. They've neither particularly shone at anything or on the other hand particularly had difficulties with anything. They have never been in any trouble or caused any trouble. So I really don't see the need to be summoned to school in my time to queue up to see a teacher who's appointment system never works, only to spend 3 minutes sat on a plastic chair being told that my child has no problems and is doing fine and all is on track. Thank you for coming.


'Ah' I hear you say, 'What if your child did have a problem or was having difficulties'.

Well dear reader in that case I would expect the school to contact me immediately not wait until the next available parents evening (which is sometimes several months into the school year). The same would apply if my child was found to be excelling at a subject and needed extra work to stimulate them. It all feels too much like they're just going through the motions. I wonder if it would be better if the parents evening was reserved for those who really need it, parents of children who do have problems and difficulties or ones who are minor genius. They would surely benefit from an extra 3 minute 'appointment' with the teacher... they could have mine!

The river is on the left just out of view weaving it's way alongside the road. In the summer there are usually people camping here. We drive through 7 tiny hamlets on our way.

Here at last! Its getting quite dark now. Thank you for enduring my parents evening rant. I hope you weren't too bored. I resisted photo taking on the return journey as it was pitch black and we don't have street lighting out here in the sticks!

Oh! If you were wondering. The outcome of our hour long (including the 3 minute sit on a plastic chair) 33 mile round trip... #2 is doing fine and has settle in well in her new school. Thank you for coming!


Amanda said...

I could not agree with you more. I and by that I mean hubby not included, went the first one and the last. Other years we were genuinely working or did not see the point so said we were working ;)

My daughter is now in 6th form college and I will be going that one. Then maybe the last one? We'll see.

VintageVicki said...

Oh the joys of parents evening - we've one for little son next week - just to see how he's settled into school - my guess is fine and he's doing well - the same as every other parents evening we've ever been too!

serendipity said...

Absolutely agree. Utter waste of time. I only remember 1 comment that was interesting in all the years my 2 were at school. At a college one the teacher basically ignored me and talked to my daughter! In this day and age they should be e-mailing parents.

Emma Thomsen said...

Gorgeous Wuthering Heights-esque photos. The winter school trip must be very challenging! I'm afraid I quite like Parents Evening, at the very least to 'check out' the teacher and put them under a bit of pressure by asking them questions. I'm also intrigued to know what our 3 children are like 'in the real world'. It's our youngest child's first Parents Evening next week, which will be very interesting as he is such a monkey at home.

**Anne** said...

I'm sorry you had to endure a boring evening wasting your time, but your blog followers are winners because we get to see your lovely photos. Thanks for sharing.
I have a slightly different opinion of parent teacher evenings. My girls went to (last daughter just about finished school), a Catholics girls school(we are not Catholic). I have had extremely positive experiences interacting with all their subject teachers. We had 10 minute appointments with each teacher at a specific time, so nobody had to wait too long. (It's a school with over a 1000 pupils). Hubby and I always went with our daughters and the teachers were inclusive. When Genevieve finishes school next week, I am going to be quite sad, as we have had a wonderful association with the school. We live in Australia, so perhaps things run a little differently over here.
Have a lovely weekend,
Anne xx

Sweet Seahorse said...

I remember when my brother and I were at high school my mother stopped going to the parent / teacher interviews. As she put it "You don't listen to a bloody word I say, so I'm not going to waste my time!"
xXx Helen

Little Blue Mouse said...

Well I'm glad your daughter has settled in at school! :)

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I agree with you. When my average skilled daughters were in high school, I gave up going to parent teacher; why should I sit to hear teacher after teacher say, she's doing fine. But there was one year when middle daughter was having trouble, so, we BOTH went to parent/teacher night. And it seemed to help reinforce to her the need to pick up the slack and that her teacher was there to help.

I believe that those evenings are only for those who are floundering in some way ... OR for the parents whose egos need to be further inflated by telling them that their child is excelling yet again (because it wouldn't look good to only pick out the kids who are having problems, right?)

Kate said...

Well... as an American elementary school teacher (4th grade, 9 and 10 year olds) who just finished conducting parent/teacher conferences myself... I'm really sorry you find them useless. To me, that's a reflection on either the teacher or the system. I go over growth goals, appropriate social growth, extra after school activities... and I usually have several questions for each family about their goals for their child. Maybe it's because I work on a military base where the kids and families really do need a lot of support and care, but I couldn't imagine wasting your time with nothing quality to say!

Mac n' Janet said...

As a retired teacher I couldn't agree with you more! If a child was struggling i was in contact with the parents immediately, sent out short weekly progress reports on all students and at conference time frequently did a number of them by phone if there was nothing in particular to report. And as a parent i already knew how my child was doing far better than the teacher did.

Scented Sweetpeas said...

Agree with you completely :-) Great rant :-)

Jan Quigley said...

Ds#3, our last child at school, started at a new school last year. Finally a school that thinks!!! We received his latest report a couple of weeks ago advising of a parents evening but also saying the teacher's didn't need to see us, however if we would like to any of them of course we could. Yippee!!
I swear I've been to parents evenings where I wasn't even sure the teacher knew who my child was!!

sue said...

Ha ha! I know the feeling sooo well. I hated parents evenings too especially as my children went to the same school as their father (divorced parents)taught.That meant I HAD to go otherwise it would be a black mark against my name even though if there were any problems surely 'dad' would let me know!!!! Oh the pain of it LOL.
I gave them up as soon as my lot went to college. ♥

Annie Jeffries said...

I agree. My schools visits are long behind me, thank goodness. Utter waste of time.