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Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Am feeling very tired and grumpy at the moment for three reasons:

1. I've received a letter from The Boy's school. From his PE teacher who writes that he is 'extremely concerned by the lack of progress being made by your son in physical eduction this term' Why? Because he is wearing 'incorrect socks'. This particular PE teacher roared at The Boy,'And what would your mother think of you not wearing the right socks for PE?' and The Boy responded, 'Actually sir, I don't think she'd give a shit.' And got a big detention.

Poor Boy. He's right about me not giving shit about his socks. But it's also because some PE teachers can be strange people. I had one who was obsessed with sport - carrying a long pole with a hook on it to prevent any errant (drowning) students in the pool from clambering out. She also had a fun game of screaming that the last person out of the changing room lost a House Point, so we all had to rush like mad, struggling into our wet clothes, so as not to be the one who let down their House by losing a House Point.

I'd be worried if The Boy was being bullied or a bully himself. I'd be worried if he was depressed. And I'd be worried if he was a lazy arse. But am I worried that his socks are incorrect? No I am not.

2. I've been doing a lot of marking at the moment. And it's exhausting trying to be honest but constructive and kind at the same time. I opened a short story where the author announced they were writing 'in the style of Sylvia Plath'. And succeeded. In the sense that after I'd read it I wanted to stick my head in the oven. Why can't writers develop their own voice?

3. The Girl has started reading her Key Stage One book, and I'm supposed to make comments in the notebook. I read one note from her teacher saying: 'The Girl has difficulty in recognising some words. She should try harder'. For some reason that comment really hacked me off. What words does she have difficulty with? Existential? Erroneous? Patronising Twat? Now I know how hard it is for teachers having to push children towards targets all the time but she's five years old. I'm going to read to her and let her listen to audio stories so she grows to love words and books, at her own pace. I restrained myself (just) from writing, 'Piss Off Teecher' in the comments box.

Told you I was grumpy. Off to eat steak and watch some bad telly. Less grumpy tomorrow.


Ruth Moss said...

I am totally rotflmao at the boy's comment to his PE teacher.

You have taught him well!

Helen P said...

Jane, I'm sorry you're grumpy but it does make for very entertaining reading! Also, isn't it interesting how much rage a mother can feel from one small comment directed at our chicks? My son's teacher has a rubber stamp that she uses in her pupils' planners indicating her displeasure/joy/irritation at their progress. I don't know where she gets these stamps made but they are incredibly specific. My son had a stamped message which stated in tiny writing 'Late homework resulting in one late mark. Two marks indicates a detention.'
The previous week a similar stamp had declared 'You were a star in history today.'
I wonder if thge choice of message is more to do with the stamper than the stampee?

Kit Courteney said...

Oh, how I'd like to have seen the look on the teacher's face if you HAD written that.

Antonia said...

Well, honestly! Ridiculous that the socks should be mentioned at all.

Robert said...

Totally agree with your attitude. Pedantic and target-chasing teachers should be retrained.

Juxtabook said...

In partial defence of teachers (I think your daughter's teacher is incompetant) and wading in on the PE teachers behalf ... uniform issues are used as a psychological discipline improver. If you hassle kids about being an arse in lesson sthey continue to be arses. If you hassle kids about something lesser like uniform then they continue being an arse about uniform but improve the rest of their behaviour. Odd but true. Only schools like selective grammars in leafly country towns can aford not to hassle kids about uniform because the behaviour is so good across the board. iF your son's school are concerned about something as small as socks then either they have big problems or an ambitious head. Either way they are probablly doing the right thing. The only thing I would criticise the PE teacher for is asking such a stupid question - talk about feeding kids lines for them to be smart about. Totally agree that you're daughter's teacher is a bit wittless though.

Jane said...

Juxtabook - I'm a bit embarrassed now. You are of course, quite right, and were I faced with a classful of arsey teens (and The Boy is pure arse at time) I might insist on some aspects of school uniform being taken seriously. And yes there may come a day when he HAS to take a dress code seriously.

Juxtabook said...

You are still entitled to be grumpy by the way - I didn't mean to sound sanctimonious! Hope you enjoyed your steak and bad telly.