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I think we're having Spring today... - dorsetgirl
January 19th, 2011
01:55 pm
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I think we're having Spring today...
I'm sitting in my back garden as I type this. Miraculously, although the wireless internet won't reach my bedroom, it will reach the end of the garden which is thirty feet further away in the same direction. So I'm sitting here in a very small patch of sunshine, typing up my notes from last night's school Parents' Consultations for my oldest son.

He takes his GCSEs in a few months, and has quite a few problems to overcome, not least his own attitude and that of his teachers. Being - finally - allowed to use a laptop in classes and exams has made a lot of difference and he now has time to think in class as well as just concentrating on writing. However, there are still some teachers who think he's just lazy, which really annoys me. For example his French "speaking assessment" involves talking for four minutes on a given topic (we don't yet know what it is, but they get two weeks to prepare). As an ASD student he would have difficulty achieving that on a topic of his own choosing IN ENGLISH, but this woman sits there and tells him he's just not trying. And they wonder why he doesn't have much confidence or motivation.

Anyway, this isn't supposed to be an edu-rant, just a brief diary entry to say: the sun is shining, the tiny patch of flower-bed middle-son and I cleared on Sunday has bulbs coming up, a robin just walked past me and there are loads of birds singing all around. Thank you, world, for wireless internet and sons who demand fancy new laptops, leaving me with the old one to use when I get fed up of being stuck indoors.

And now I must get back to work; I have a lot of very careful talking to do over the next week or so if eldest-son is going to do any work at all over the next few months, never mind more than usual. He'll need to if he hopes to get decent marks in his GCSEs, but two of the less understanding teachers really damaged his motivation last night. Six really good ones, and you could see his face lighting up and his confidence growing. Then two nasty ones (unfortunately the last two) and he just withdrew into himself and this morning it's back to "There's no point in working." So now I have to try to talk him round. It's not possible to persuade him; it's just a case of being very artful in choosing which facts to place before him so that he comes to the right conclusions.

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Date:January 19th, 2011 02:05 pm (UTC)
I was just thinking the same about Spring. I was debating whether to ditch what I should be doing and go for a walk.

Since I'm procrastinating in any case by writing this comment, I suppose it would be better to procrastinate by getting fresh air and exercise.

Good luck with the run up to GCSE. Students never attended parents' evenings in my day - and I'm not sure I'd have wanted to if I could.
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Date:January 19th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
I hope you enjoy the walk!

I certainly didn't have to go to Parents' evenings as a child, but this school insists on it. The current Head of Year apparently has a policy that all teachers find something positive to say about the student, which is a major improvement, because too often these things are just an exercise in power and humiliation. The message hasn't got through to some of them, though.
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Date:January 19th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
Good luck with the GCSE preparation. My daughter's school said the pupils should attend parents evening - she refused and insisted she go to help at Beaver Scouts as usual. It was a lot easier discussing matters with the teachers without her being there.

And as for teacher attitude. Her regular English teacher told her she was poor at English, but when she took after school lessons (her own decision) the other teacher was very positive about her efforts and she did well in the exam.

I appreciate that your problems are much greater than ours were - an intelligent girl but not academic in a very academic secondary school - but I can see the difficulties you encounter.
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Date:January 19th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
I wish you were over here where they can't get away with that stuff -- necessary classwork modifications for individuals with learning problems of any sort are developed and discussed by a team of professionals and parents every year, and those modifications are law. Any teacher denying their use would get in trouble with the school administration, which in turn would be desperately trying to keep the parents from hauling in the school district administration and/or the local media (we Yanks are quite willing to shame folks by using the local telly stations and newspapers to get things done) should things not go the proper way.

The schooling of the differently-abled in Britain totally sucks (doubly when the handicap is not visibly physical) and I feel for you.

Switching topics: I am envious of your day of sunshine -- they're predicting another snowstorm to come in tonight and dump 3" - 5" (7.5 - 12.5 cm) on us by the time it leaves tomorrow afternoon, followed by a nice cold front that has us spending all day Friday at 15° F (-9.5° C.) It's been either so snow-covered or cold out that I haven't even done a cursory check of the places I have bulbs in the ground.

Which reminds me -- I need to get out to the shops today. Unfortunately, all my neighbors will be doing the OMG-it's-gonna-snow! crazy shopping thing...
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