It’s that time of year when parents of school-going children get clammy hands and develop a nervous twitch affecting the entire left side of their face.
No, it’s not the class bear coming home for the weekend. It’s Parent Teacher Interview time (note use of capital letters for effect). This can be a daunting time so, without further ado, here are some helpful* survival tips for parents about to do the corridor walk of dread…
(*They’re not helpful.)
1. Practice your best “Where on earth did he hear that word from???!?!” face beforehand, just in case.
2. Don’t be too disappointed if you aren’t told that your child is a genius. Not all geniuses are recognised for their earlier works. Give it time and keep the faith.
3. Don’t wear a suit – you’ll safely look like a plank. And don’t wear the jogging bottoms that haven’t seen the inside of the washing machine since mid-to-late 2015 either or you’ll look like a filthy minger of a plank. Go with a colourful, wildly patterned top (neon colours are preferable); as well as being stylish, this helps to detract attention in the event of a Point 1 scenario.
4. It’s best to go easy on the croissants for a month or two beforehand. There’s a chance you will be sitting on a small plastic chair for the duration of the interview. If laying off the pastries has proven too difficult, subtly slide an additional chair alongside the one you’re sitting on. Try to distribute the weight of your arse evenly across both. Remember not to be over-zealous in your manoeuvring or you may fall between the two chairs and plunge 5cm to the floor.
5. You will of course want to know every little detail about what your child gets up to at school. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that the teacher may not be sure of the exact time your little cherub blew his nose two Thursdays ago.
6. It will quickly become apparent that your child may have missed out some finer details during your daily post-school interrogation sessions. Up to this point, you will have been of the knowledge that their school day consisted entirely of eating lunch then going home. Wrong. Prepare yourself for an array of workbooks and activity sheets that will lead you to wonder:
a) What other important information your child withholds from you on a day-to-day basis; and,
b) How you go about nominating your child’s teacher for the Pride of Britain Awards.
7. Staying for 3 hours and 47 minutes is frowned upon. Chances are your child is not the only pupil in their class.
8. Bursting into a tearful rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” with your face pressed against your child’s painting on the classroom wall is also frowned upon.
So parents, stick to those guidelines and you’ll breeze through your parent teacher meeting and be back on the croissants before you know it.
This post is dedicated to all the completely brilliant teachers at my children’s school. I have full “red pen fear” after learning recently that they read my blog. Hopefully it’ll be a “good effort” and not a “must try harder” (see what I did there?!)
And thank you to all teachers province-wide for your tireless dedication to educating our children. Northern Ireland consistently outperforms the rest of the UK at G.C.S.E and A Level and that’s down to our educators. From those instilling strong academic foundations in our Primary One pupils to the Sixth Form teachers sending polished, well-educated students off to college, university or the workplace.