Bracing ourselves for another first

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One of the great things about being a parent is the number of ‘firsts’ you go through.

The first step, tooth, word, or night of unbroken sleep are all moments to savour, but tend to go in the blink of an eye.

The next first for us is Molly’s first school report after her first year at school and I’m intrigued, whilst feeling a little apprehensive.

My experience of school reports until now has all been of my own and they weren’t particularly glowing.

I wasn’t a mongrel at school, but I did fit into the category of ‘not quite fitting into a particular category’.

Ultimately I was (and still am) lazy and when I wanted to make the effort I could come up with the goods, but most of the time I was happier building dens or contraptions that would one day allow me to soar through the sky.

As much as I enjoyed myself, there has never been a calling in society for a man who has the skills to build a hang-glider from an old staircase. Society’s loss if you ask me.

My reports would be brimming with useful comments like ‘could do better, a well-liked pupil, easily distracted’ etc.

All very true, but not very helpful in moulding me and my academia to help me become a genius.

One comment that will always stay with me was from a frustrated English teacher who was always a little baffled by my writing style.

‘Paul’s writing is unique. He’s become quite accomplished at combining creativity and gibberish’.

Some things don’t change.

The reports were minimalistic too. Maths – good. English – average. Science – poor.

I’m not sure what a parent could really glean from just six words after their child had toiled for a whole year.

Luckily, those days are well and truly over. Children now have a brilliantly documented book called ‘My Learning Journey’ and it details many parts of the curriculum and how they’ve managed and progressed.

Colour photos, paintings, gluey pasta things and plenty of comment from the teacher.

We’ve seen the book a couple of times throughout the year, so we have a good impression of how things are coming together.

Like night follows day, parent/teacher meetings follow school reports. And on the eve of our first, I’m slightly nervous.

My memories of these gatherings tend to be of my parents walking out of the classroom with their ‘we’re not angry son, just disappointed’ faces on.

In my heart, I know Molly will be OK – she’s bright, intelligent and enjoys learning.

Although, if she’s ever asked to make a hang-glider from disused timber, I’m pretty sure she’ll be seeing my disappointed face for the first time.