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About 5 years ago when my daughter was in kinder and her brothers were about to embark upon the

“most important exam of their lives”

I hoped that when she got to the end of her schooling, things would be different.  That tests, if indeed they were/are still necessary, would be taken using the technology of the day, that the test might see if you knew how to find something out, rather than if you could remember something.

Today, I’m saddened to see that the big final test hasn’t changed at all in the 5 years since my daughter started school, and it doesn’t look likely to before she finishes.

I remember reading how selective schools are bad for society, and now,  I really really want to do away with ‘reports’ all together (that’s a completely different post).

So, now when I find myself applying for the opportunity class, and looking around for the school that will really be the very best one for my daughter, again I find myself wondering why, and writing here (which I haven’t done since her older brother left school).

Too many choices and not enough choices.  Imagine if we all “had” to go to our local school, what a great school it would be.

I have actually found the perfect class for my daughter, she will flourish there and the principal has already told me she can come.  I know the teacher will inspire her, she will love it, and will love learning.  But she also loves band, and there is no band there …

So, we do the opportunity test, and may or may not get in, and if we do get in, we will meet some like minded people, and learn how to pass tests.  And there is band! Happy days!

I feel it is inevitable, that in 8 years, she will have to use a pen for 6×3 hours to do the

“most important exam of her life”

to show what she learned in the last 13 years, and be judged on that.  I would really like to know how to change that.  It seemed like we, society, were going there, but now we seem to be accepting that we just keep testing and comparing our results with the results of the world, PISA and all those markers.  Is that good enough for our kids?  Is it good enough for your kids?  Do you know how to change it?  Can we fix it?

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I need to talk to the school counsellor about my child. I’m sad about this because I know she’s busy with real McCoy problems much bigger than mine … and my child is not a priority. Its sad that I need to talk to her because my child is doing well. She’s bright and is doing well, she’s really willing to please, she really wants to do the right thing, a loves school kind of kid … who now is retreating to her books.

I need to talk the counsellor about her anxiety. I didn’t know she was anxious before she started school. Quite confident I thought she was. But now, she’s worried … her hat isn’t in the right place, her homework isn’t finished, she might lose her book, what if she says the wrong thing, will you come with me please? will you ask for me please?

She cries … not because something is wrong, because something *might be* wrong. School is scary now. In year 1, she cries, turns away, takes a breath. It’s not ok to cry. In year 1 … she learned she *must not* cry. She turns, takes a breath.

Is this what we teach our children? to turn away and take a breath?

Yes, I understand resilience, does it have to be such a tough lesson? for someone so young? who are we learning to deal with? Why do we have to ‘put on our armour’ to walk into; school, work, home? Who do we live with? Why are we so hard on each other?