We’ve come to the end of a long year of school. It’s been a challenging year, for all of us in many ways. We’ve had moments where we were just in survival mode, and some real highs and lows.
My children amaze me. I don’t know why that continually surprises me, at almost nine years into this parenting thing, but I still have real moments of “wow, they are really mine, I must be doing something right, they’re doing ok, in fact they’re doing really well”.
The usual school reports came home, and we read them with the children, and talk about what the teachers have said and how the year has been.
Of course, like any parent, would be, when I read the really positive things, I’m delighted. I’m thrilled that my oldest child has clearly not inherited my ineptitude at maths, and is working at a level well above average, and that she’s excelling at reading and creative writing. I’m utterly relieved that my small boy has settled into school so well, coping with the challenges that his SPD issues present, but has learned to read and write, and is doing what he should be for his age and stage. His teachers say because he is bright, and determined (ahem, stubborn) he has succeeded when we were concerned he might struggle. Of course, they are not perfect, as much as I like to think they are, and both have things that they need to work on, and actually when we read their reports, those things don’t surprise us, because we see them ourselves and also they seem familiar from our own school days and reports (one needs to not rush work, check mistakes, and push a bit harder in areas they aren’t so enthusiastic about, and the other sometimes can be very stubborn and needs help when things aren’t working out the way they want, these sound very much like traits their mum and dad both still struggle with! 😉)
But what matters most, when I read their school reports, is not the academic achievements (although of course those are important) but the personal comments.
“Emily is kind, compassionate and cheerful. She likes to help others and is very caring. She is a pleasure to have in class”
“Matthew is determined and works hard, and likes to solve problems, and doesn’t give up easily, and will try to solve things until he has figured something out”
To me, these characteristics are so much more important than being in the top maths set, or being the brightest at writing or science. I think we’ve become so fixated on academic standards and levels and pushing our children so hard to reach the (ridiculous) targets the teachers have to get them to attain, that we’ve forgotten the basics. Whilst I’m incredibly proud that despite a tough year, that my children are doing well, knowing that they are turning out to be nice individuals, with caring, hard working, compassionate characteristics to me means more.
It’s what really matters, I think.