This week I had to go into school to meet with one of Flea’s teachers.
In my head, I’d planned it all out. I had a couple of questions about how the school had handled something, and also wanted some reassurance about how the issue would be handled going forward.
It was supposed to be simple. I didn’t have any criticism of the school, and Flea is really happy there. I just wanted to offer some insight on how they might approach a specific topic with her, to get the best performance.
Sounds simple, right?
Except something weird happens to me at this sort of meeting.
As I drive into the school, I’m a 42-year-old professional woman with a post-graduate degree. There’s a list of questions and key points I want to make, and an outcome in mind.
I walk into school. Sign in, and get a visitor’s badge. The teacher introduces himself, and takes me into his office. We sit down.
Then It Happens
BOOM, just like that I’m 11 and my palms are sweating and I just wish I could click my heels together and be somewhere less stressful, like on an operating table or strapped into an electric chair….
My clothing feels itchy, and I’m painfully aware that I didn’t brush my hair before I left the house. I have to force myself to make eye contact, then worry that I’m staring at the head of maths, wide-eyed like a crazy woman. My voice goes a bit weird and croaky.
Rather than making my salient, reasoned points, I find myself nodding enthusiastically, and agreeing with everything the teacher says. It’s all great, and thanks so much for seeing me, and oh, isn’t the weather lovely, and is it time to go already?
Truth be told, I was a terrible student at school and I’m sure that 100% of my teachers hated me. I spent a lot of time sitting in teacher’s offices being talked at, usually at great length, about my behaviour.
I can’t quite get my head around being back in those same rooms, except now I’m the adult talking about the importance of homework, and exam technique and GIVING A HUNDRED PERCENT.
My inner 15-year-old is disgusted with me.
I wish I could just NOT go. But it turns out I’m a parent and I’m expected to go and advocate for my child when she messes up an exam, and I have to explain that, actually, she’s usually not THAT bad at maths.
As a quick aside, if you have a child about to sit a maths exam, do tell them they’re allowed to talk if they realise they didn’t bring a ruler, protractor or compasses. Also it’s 10,000% better to do this than to just guess what angles and distances look like, and sketch all your answers. Take it from me – this approach does not lead to academic glory.
Every time I have to go to school, I lose all ability to be a functioning adult.
I walk in as a professional adult person with a brain. But within 10 seconds, I’m an awkward teenager with dubious powers of speech. And it certainly doesn’t help when some of my old teachers are still there.
It’s ridiculous. I’m just going to have to communicate with all teachers for the rest of time by email.
Does this ever happen to you?