On Wednesday night I went to Tallulah’s Parents GCSE information evening at her school. I got the time wrong and arrived an hour early, Jason was working and so I had to leave my girls home alone (!). That is grown up thing number one. And because I’d got the time wrong, instead of being home alone for 90 minutes it turned into 2 and half hours. Aaaaggghhh. They were obviously fine with this, I’m sure they managed to find the hidden chocolate and watched all the telly that I hate them watching, but they were still alive, talking to each other and there had been no fire, in my eyes, it was a success.
Now back to the GCSE’s….
I don’t know about you, but I revert back to being a kid when I go to my children’s school, even though I am probably ten years older than the teachers giving the talk. My body language changes, I slouch, I get a mardy look on my face and instantly have attitude waiting for the teacher to point at me and tell me off. I thought I’d have grown out of this, sadly, I have not.
The talk involved lots of slides and videos explaining how the GCSE’s had changed, what was expected of the kids and what was expected of us. It was really thorough, clear and informative. The problem is that before I went to the talk I was pretty chilled out about Tallulah’s exams, I know its a big deal but worrying wasn’t going to help. But after listening to the amount of work they have to do, how the changes mean that their whole mark is based on a final exam and that there is an extra grade put in for the super duper bright kids the worry started to creep in. Tallulah is very driven, wants to be the best and is prepared to put the work in to get it, but that means she is prone to worry and anxiety. The support that was on offer, from teachers, pastoral, even helplines is incredible and that’s when the gravity of the situation sunk in. The pressure put on the kids to perform well is huge!!!
I don’t remember any of this. When I was at school you just got on with it. Granted, my school was pretty rubbish in regards to the academic side, but there was no ‘support’ or ‘pastoral’ to help you reach your potential. I got quite distracted when it came to sitting my exams and I didn’t get the grades that I’d been predicted (although I did get an A in drama), but overall I did okay. I was going to college to do A levels and then I toyed with the idea of being a child psychologist if I didn’t become an actor. All the time I was sitting the exams and deciding my future I never for one second thought that if I didn’t get top marks I was doomed. Ever.
Nowadays the pressure is real!!! And I think it can be detrimental. Sure if you want to be a professional working in law, medicine or any profession requiring a degree you have got to go to Uni, but there are so many jobs that require common sense, a personality and people skills.
Prospects for jobs are gloomier than they once were, but we will always need electrician’s, plumbers and actors (ha!), none of which need a an A* in English.
Let’s encourage our kids to be the best they can be, in whatever field that is, encourage them to develop their personalities and their conversation. Of course they should buckle down and put their all into their GCSE’s but it really isn’t the end of the world.
I think my daughters school is amazing, and they think about the student as a whole, supporting them in any way that they can during this time, and I feel very lucky that they have that. Maybe it would have helped me back in my day……