We’ve got a parent’s night at A’s school at the end of this month and I am anxious to hear how things are going. The amount of feedback that parents get is a bit different than what we are used to.
We had a GCSE night last week at her school. I am still not sure if some of the assumptions I am making between an American education and an English education is the same but in Year 10, which is where A will be next year, your coursework is focused on subjects that you will be tested on in Year 11. Wikipedia has a nice explanation of what GCSEs are. During this information night last week, all of the parents for girls in Year 9 were invited to learn about what courses would be compulsory and what courses the girls had to select from for their two electives. Looking at the elective selections it made me think of starting high school and being able to select a few courses that I might actually enjoy instead of all of the stuff I didn’t like. I remember making that decision with very little fanfare, but at the information session it was depicted as one of the first major decisions in a young woman’s life. I was sitting there thinking okay, is that really how serious it is in the school system in the UK, or is this school just way uptight, OR are the parents just way uptight? We learned that at the end of the month the girls will have to fill out a form which will have their first, second, third and fourth selections for these electives and they will need to submit it to the office. The woman in the office that receives the form gave us parents a twenty to thirty minute stream of consciousness walkthrough on what happens after she receives all these forms and all the obstacles she might face in pleasing everyone and how she will handle them. I had my poker face on while this was happening but I was thinking in my head, Seriously???!!! We need to know this level of detail? I saw a parent sitting in front of us mouth to another parent, “Who cares?” But as soon as the woman finished her speech explaining how she ended up with a final matrix of everyone’s elective selections, a father in the front row raised his hand and asked because she was human and could make a mistake, what was her mechanism for checking her work? H and I looked at each other in disbelief! It dawned on me at that moment, this poor lady was just trying to anticipate and answer all of the concerns of the uptight parents.
When we walked back to our car and we were out of anyone else’s earshot, we both told A to pick what made her happy.