It’s the end of an era for us as parents. Last night was our youngest child’s final parents’ evening before he finishes his A levels and goes off to university next year. That was the last time we’ll have the pleasure of sitting opposite our children’s teachers, hearing their words of wisdom and witnessing that special teacher-student bond played out in their conversation.
I wrote about parents’ evening a few years ago: Parents’ Evening = Teacher-Appreciation Night. . Here’s a line that still absolutely hold true:
It’s such a privilege to sit on the parents’ side of the desk, talking to a series of committed, professional people who know my children in ways that I don’t, sharing their passion for what they do and spurring my kids on.
Last night was no exception. I just love the enthusiasm that comes across but, mainly, I love the way they just know our son – they know how to balance encouragement with a positive pressure to excel. A year ago, parents’ evening was significant in helping him commit to studying English literature to A2 after some words of encouragement from his teacher: she made him realise that he was better at it than he’d realised. It was a major turning point. Last night, his teachers gave him just the right level of push, with some forensic insights about the qualities of his writing and fluctuations in performance. They all conveyed this sense of being united with my son in their pursuit of knowledge – a sense of being in it together that I just love.
One teacher’s parting words were “If you don’t get an A* I’ll hunt you down” – capturing so much: their lovely rapport, a sense of total belief in him plus a total insistence that he should work hard and reach for the top.
And that’s it. Never again. Hard to believe; it doesn’t seem so long ago that we were crouching on the mini-chairs for Reception parents’ evening looking at my daughter’s first bits of writing.
Here’s another line from my teacher-appreciation blog:
Teachers, you may have no idea how important you are and how often you feature in our evening conversations but I want you know that I’m deeply grateful for all that you do for my children every day. I really am.
That remains as true now as it was then. We’re so grateful to all of you for everything you’ve done and all the hours of work you put in. Thanks for fuelling our children’s passion for learning, for making the subjects so interesting, for creating a culture where striving for excellence is the norm and teaching them how to study, for setting such high expectations and making them work hard; and thank you for knowing them so well and for all the kindness you’ve shown them. They’ve been so lucky to have been taught by you – which they also realise and appreciate.