Sunday, 13 September 2009

The end of the first week, and the start of the rebellion.

I was incredible proud of my son last week, the way he handled himself at school, and the perceived way in which I thought he had behaved while there.

Assurance of his positive behaviour came in the form of a certificate from the teacher. It read ‘award for settling into school really well and being very helpful’.

Apparently only two of the fifteen in the class got this certificate, so it appears to be a genuine award, rather than simply being an annual gesture.

So it has pride of place above all his nursery awards, awards that I doubt were always issued because he merited them.

He has also come home with other things that do not delight me so much, like homework and a Home-School Agreement.

Homework is a very loose description of what he ‘has’ to do. It is really a picture book from which he has to tell the story, and have a go at reading the cover.

That just modifies something we do at home by default.

This is probably something that has happened since the year dot, reception kids taking books home, but now it is so terribly formalised and sterile.

Work coming home will probably be an issue eventually here, as my current philosophy is for him to enjoy school, rather than to feel berated all the time for not having all the boxes ticked.

The Home-School Agreement was muted over the summer holidays, and I am led to believe it is in use at many, if not all schools. Indeed, a quick google search appears to find it is mandatory.

Within the document it sets out what the pupil, the school, and the parent are expected to do, and then asks you to sign to accept your responsibility in any of these three roles.

Yeah, four year-olds have great signatures.

I dislike things like this, as they should not have to be used, and I genuinely believe introduction of such things is eventually counterproductive.

My role as a parent is for me to decide, and I am accountable for my actions, no one is accountable for me, I CHOOSE to encourage my child, and support him. It is so sad to think these things have to be made mandatory, and almost law in this case.

I appreciate that they work in certain situations, and that some people do ‘need’ to be told how to behave, but to have such agreements in place because of these people is ridiculous.

These agreements are simply a tool to throw back in peoples’ faces when their brood start to misbehave. Ammunition for official lines of discipline.

But if a child misbehaves, or causes trouble, surely this is enough? We do not need to point fingers at a document to say that they agreed to behave well.

Suggested schools’ caveat;

‘Poor behaviour, as we define it, is not tolerated, and we have various methods that we can administer to deal with such, we remain the right to choose the method, and measure we deem appropriate.’

We shall both sign the agreement, but I am tempted to sign in the same style as my son, or perhaps even under a joke name, see if they even notice.

So the first week is over, and so is my first school based rant.