I don’t know when I became one of those mothers. But as I sat typing copious notes on my laptop at R’s annual review meeting, I realized that is what I’ve become. It was inevitable, I suppose.
The contrast between today’s meeting and the parents evening that I attended for EB last week is striking. In attendance last week were EB’s (frankly terrific) class teacher Miss L, R, me – and a giant box of Quality Street (Miss L really is great). Within a minute, I was able to establish that Miss L knew EB very well. She was very clear about her talents and abilities and was aware of what worries her at school and at home. I felt very reassured.
R’s review meetings are rather different. For a start, it’s never a one-to-one. In attendence were: the assistant head teacher, R’s class teacher, her social worker, her educational psychologist, speech therapist and physiotherapist. Oh, and me. No one looked terribly comfortable: I am a “difficult mum”. There were no Quality Street.
I used to be a fairly relaxed mother with respect to my children’s schooling – well as relaxed as I am about anything, which is, admittedly, not very. I made no attempt to teach F and E to read or write before starting school – that’s what schools are there for after all, isn’t it? I was confident that they would do ok without too much interference from me. It’s different with R. Not everyone sees her as we do. Actually, virtually no one does. And if it means being a “difficult mum”, that health and education professionals dread having to meet, then so be it. R has no voice but I do.
But this blog post is not a gloomy one. Actually, its one for the jar. Our experience with Educational Psychologists has not been great thus far. (A particular low point was when R’s then Psychologist scored her IQ as 0, on a test for which all responses had either to be verbal or required fine motor skills. It’s a bit of a handicap when you can neither talk nor use your hands, I suggested.) Mr S, the new psychologist is, however, sensible and open minded. We are in a bit of transition right now. R has a new class teacher who is still getting to know her and her classmates. I offered that I thought that R might be bored of reading the same books on her reading scheme week after week after week to which Mr S replied “that’s probably true. What does she read at home?” And so it is that, with the full support of her class teacher, I have compiled a list of the novels that R has enjoyed at home, with a view to more appropriate reading material being provided at school. A small victory for R, I think.