“Libby, did you want to share your news?” Libby puts down her hand, wades to the front of the carpet and faces her audience.
“I’ve got news about my mum and dad,” she announces.
“Is it happy news?” I ask. Some things are probably not best shared in show-and-tell.
“Yes it is. Sometimes, my mum takes all my dad’s clothes off and then she laughs. Any questions?”
Plenty. But perhaps not for the following week’s parents’ evening which was a master-class in restraint, if I say so myself.
We’ve had parents’ evenings this week; the preparation for which was one of the reasons for last week’s missed blog. Up to my eyes in bally sublevels. Apologies, dear reader. I owe you one.
As things stand, these were probably my last parents’ evenings. I certainly won’t miss the preparation or the late nights but often the conversations themselves can be enlightening. This year, I’ve been lucky enough to meet the parents alongside Mrs Auld-Syne, as we share the class. She’s a fast thinker, is Mrs Auld-Syne; neatly keeping the ball in the air when Frankie’s mum floored me by explaining that she couldn’t read with him because he wouldn’t put down his iPad. The option of taking it away apparently hadn’t occurred to her.
It’s always nice when parents say how much their children enjoy school. Our current class is lovely and we had a smooth run of it this year. Alas, that’s not always the case. There have been consultations when warring parents have taken the opportunity to slag each other off in front of a witness. Or, even worse, criticise the child who is sitting beside them. It must be nearly twenty years ago now, but I still remember one mum who constantly referred to her lovely daughter as ‘it’ while listing her many faults including, it appeared, being born. It was as if a Roald Dahl villain had walked into the classroom.
There have been parents for whom a random professional the other side of any desk has prompted stories of unfaithful spouses or gruesome labours, as you try and steer the conversation towards their child’s difficulties with inverted commas. Others are clearly uncomfortable in the classroom; huge dads squirming behind the desks waiting to be told off.
And then there are the relaxed parents. Some very relaxed. Occasionally, as relaxed as a newt. Libby’s mum was ever so relaxed when we met.
The next day, in phonics, we were looking at the vowel digraph ee as in tree. We’d listed some words containing this digraph and then I invited more examples. There was the usual hilarity over the word wee, which continued when Libby suggested weed. I put on my stern teacher voice and told the class that I expected Libby was not talking toilets but meant the plants, like dandelions.
“Oh no, Mrs Jellywoman,” interrupted Libby. “I mean weed like you smoke.”
Which brings me to other reason for missing last week’s blog. Too busy potting up seedlings, ready for when I’m put out to grass.