Thursday, July 11, 2019

"Where does the time go?" As kiddo leaves Junior School, a timely reminder of how awesome teachers are - This Week's #ReadItTorial

It began with tears. A lot of tears, in fact every single morning from the start of Nursery School right through to around Year 4 of Junior School, C would cry her eyes out every morning at drop-off.

My wife was way tougher than I was, able to swing in, drop C off with a teacher or class assistant, then swoop out again without looking back.

Never look back. That's apparently the key to it all, and the thing I was never any good at. I always looked back.

So after year 4 what changed? Parents with naturally anxious kids will know that there's no magic solution to the school drop-off problem, but we firmly believe that it took a teacher with a huge amount of patience, understanding and professionalism to slowly bring C around. That, and her regular attendance of Brownies / Guides have helped to shape her into someone who now takes the school drop-off in her stride, has gone on countless camps and summer schools, loves drama, but is still one of the 'quiet' kids in class (and as her form teacher for this year wrote in her report, she might be quiet but she's just as capable of making a valuable contribution to every class she's in, as much as the louder kids - and god, how long has it taken for someone to understand and acknowledge that?)

But as the article header says, where did the time go? The last 10 years seem to have whipped by in an instant. We're all older, we're somewhat wiser, we're certainly a lot more tired - but the soaring highs have outweighed the lows, and C enters Senior School next year with a trophy for her art endeavours (which just made my jaw completely drop!) and a glowing final report.

I'd like to say that my wife and I should take some credit for some of that. We have always made time for our daughter, and sometimes more time than kids would get in a family where they weren't the only child - and we fully understand that.

Sometimes it's because she needs a rocket, needs an extra push or extra effort to get her motivated (what kid doesn't?)

At her leavers party last week, parents of the kids in her class gathered for one last chinwag, some of us for the last time as kids are moving off to different schools. I think the one thing we all agreed on is that school is such a huge part of kids' lives and the effort teachers go to can often be taken for granted, overlooked, teachers blamed for the kids' shortcomings when often it takes a delicate balance from both parents and teachers to see kids through their academic time.

We're wondering how fast the next 6-8 years will go and what will happen next. Sometimes I feel my age, I'm well aware I've got a good 10-20 years on most of the dads of kids in C's class. Sometimes I don't feel my age at all, and as I lined up to play rounders against the kid team at the leavers part (in the blistering heat), watching as they systematically trounced us, I felt 12 again.

Kids have a habit of making us feel old, but also keeping us young. Treasure that feeling for as long as it lasts, and savour every moment they're in junior school, it will pass by so durned quickly.