Keyboards all over the country will be tapping away at the news of the Year 7 Parents’ Evening Booking Systems opening this term. I can just see the headlines ‘Year 7 Parent Books Parents’ Evening For The First Time’. This is a big thing.
The event of the year, the one we have been waiting for.
The parental rite of passage. ‘An evening of speed dating whilst meeting your child’s teachers’ is how it has been described by our predecessors.
This is the time when good advice and sensible behaviour goes flying right out of the window.
I am not going to lie to make myself sound cooler than I actually am about this first Parents’ Evening. I’m not going to pretend that I’m ‘Mrs Oh I Don’t Have Time’ or ‘Mrs ‘Sooo Busy’. Sorry to disappoint you here but I am proud to be ‘Mrs I’m Not Leaving This Baby to Chance this Time’ . Year 8-11 yes. Year 7 – absolutely not.
I mean you have to expect it, we’ve handed over our little cherubs and run the gauntlet of only ‘hearing’ about things so it’s only right and proper that we want to find out what’s been happening. For FIVE minutes.
We all have our instructions. We know when the booking system opens.
We are also advised that some of the bookings will have been made for us. I am excited by this because I assume that these people really want to meet us. A bit like checking in at the airport and finding you have an upgrade on your long haul flight.
No such bloody luck. The screen is blank. No one wants to see us. And yes of course I know why one gets THOSE appointments.
But I nevertheless thank my lucky starts for the capabilities of the internet because it asks me if I would like it to populate our schedule automatically.
Yes! I cry! Yes please. Take everything I have, here you go – have the banking password and my pin. I’m dancing with joy at how easy this is.
Done! Less than 5 minutes. Surely I’ve got to be the first. Oh I feel like I’ve got front row seats at the Barry Manilow concert as I happily print my schedule.
And then I see.
I see what you’ve done – you’ve given an appointment every 5 minutes in completely different places. No time in between. You have done exactly as asked. Just like systems do. Systems that don’t take into account the human touch and the strategic possibility of getting lost.
I mention getting lost because it is a problem for me. I have been known to get lost on trying to find my way out of a toilet so I’d say I’m probably a liability in that respect.
Or do we cut our 5 minutes short. Take back the power and stand up mid meeting at about 3 minutes. Because we’d all love to do that wouldn’t we.
Having spent the last 7 years trying to cram it into 5 minutes, I’m not sure I can manage that. Especially if you get the teacher that sits and looks at you for 2 minutes to see who crumbles first. A bit like seeing a counsellor. Mind games. Yes it happens.
But here’s the rub – you have to delete an appointment before making another. That’s like choosing whether to gamble on The Chase.
Enter Strategic Family Member No 1. Seriously mate, there is no point giving the Midlife, Menopausal Mama a strategic overview of what she has just created at 6.45am.
This now means that she will need to flex her strategic and balance of probability muscle in trying to think who is going to be the less popular teachers and subject areas. Jesus – I suppose you know who you are too! It happens. Not everyone is going to be mad about Hieroglyphics are they. I guess this just means you get to have a bit of a rest or make the tea while your core subject buddies are surrounded with nutters like us.
So who to let go. This does of course mean that you are now running the risk of being at this parents evening for 72 hours. You want to use your ‘phone a friend with older kids’ life but then you remember is 6.45am and even they will think you are odd. Like really odd.
Or, they may of course also be online and after the same slot at 4.59 in the Study with Mr Candlestick.
It’s more likely that they will be in the shower and doing normal things though.
But who wants the very first and very last slot at Parents Evening. I’ve always wondered who this person is. Sadly, it’s looking embarrassingly like it could be me. Especially if I’m in the toilet.
And then along comes Strategic Family Member No 3. Suddenly everyone is interested. This should be good because it’s the Honest Teen and she knows everything. But this is not the time to outsmart me or roll the eyes.
Let’s just really remember who is the grown up here today.
But fear and anticipation is building for these Year 7 children. It’s nothing to do with their behaviour. They are worried that we will do something embarrassing. Of course they are. Like none of us are in control of our faculties and self respect.
I get it. I was your age once. There is nothing like your parents returning home and your mum announcing ‘Daddy got very angry with the English teacher and the head came over’. She had said something like ‘what’s the point, none of these kids are going to get job anyway’?!! It makes me want to laugh out loud now because back in 1902 you could say what you blooming well liked. And she did. So did Mr Humphreys. And we all got jobs.
But the most puzzling thing about 1902 surely has to be ‘How on earth did they make appointments’?? We didn’t even have a phone. Anyway, I’m not going down that road because that really is EMBARRASSING.
Our solution is to double up – maybe bring a few more family members too. Pity the poor soul with twins. There really is always someone worse off isn’t there?!
However, there is a whole group far worse than off than all of us though – the teachers. Poor, poor people. They’ll have seen it all before and know how it rolls. And I know they can’t wait to meet the lovely Year 7 parents but come on. We get it guys. You have homes to go to. Although there must be a little part of you that can’t wait to meet some of the parents. Faces to names and all that. I know I would! Other than that I imagine it’s a wallpaper of parents running around like headless chickens.
Or do you just not think of those things? Either way I salute you all.
There is a course a deeper meaning here – not that I am going all worthy or Aesop on you, mind! And that is that we all have to experience things for ourselves. In order to learn. In order to make a royal mess up. Because that is of course the only way to learn.
I guess this can also fall into the going ‘out-out’ category too. Midweek to boot. I’ll be taking my A-Z.
And not acting like a ‘weirdo’ or a ‘loner’. The affectionate names that parents appear to go by these days!
I promise to be even cooler next year.