Thank God It's Friday

19th May 1995 at 01:00
Monday: My son, aged seven, has a more exciting day than me. He has a temporary teacher, less strict than the usual one, whose strictness David attributes to her being deputy head.

"So where's Mrs X?" Usually her absences mean training in Welsh. Our first three children were all born in Wales but, bred in pre-national curriculum days, cannot even sing the national anthem, so we applaud language initiatives, however disruptive. But no, Mrs X is not in class because "she needs some peace and quiet, or she's never going to get her work done".

Tuesday: Light dawns: yesterday, Mrs X was testing key stage 1 reading - Davy's included - and I had no idea. My husband has been at the school gate, unlike me, and reports that Davy got eight words wrong. Aagh! Eight out of how many? What's his score, percentage wise? Calm down, woman, this is KS1.

But it's known that boys don't do as well as girls, and look at the consequences if he falls behind now and do they operate a reading recovery scheme, and why am I never there to pick him up from school and when was the last time I did some home-baking?

Wednesday: I scramble home from school in time to make buns. Husband says, "What are these?" Davy says, "Yuk!" Receive e-mail from senior daughter reminding me that other people have problems, or rather that I have problems with other children, depending on how you look at it.

Abby is off to celebrate surviving first university exam - note the verb - not "passing", just surviving.

She's in her second semester at Hull which worries me as a teacher and mum because I thought this was her third term. it seems to be a cunning university device to get three terms' attendance in exchange for two terms' teaching and some widely-spaced exams. Is someone being conned - Parents? Students? Government? Taxpayer?

Thursday: Helping my second daughter swot The Reeve's Tale, featuring clever-clogs students conning unsuspecting Miller (suspect they went on to invent semesters).

This daughter is confronting A-levels this summer. Pray she will get the three Bs for business studies at Leeds. A friend rings me and says, "But you can do that with just a couple of Es, can't you?" Second "Aagh!" of the week, daughter's louder than mine.

We are interrupted by her 14-year-old brother, on the GCSE haul, phoning from boarding school to ask have I ever taught Romeo and Juliet. Plead guilty, but I cannot help at this distance. More guilt.

Friday: Discover one of Davy's wrong words was "pigeon". I feel a tiny bit consoled. Swear I'd spend all of Saturday reading with him if I weren't accompanying a school trip to see Romeo and Juliet. A treat at the end of the week, but it wouldn't be gingerbread without the guilt, would it?

Hilary Moriarty is deputy head of the Red Maid's School, Bristol

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