I’ve got a couple of bright kids in my younger two. I know that. I know they’re also likeable kids who are good at sport. But I’m biased, right?
Every parents’ evening, I hear glowing reports from their teachers. They don’t tell me anything I don’t already know, but it’s so nice to hear that what I think I know isn’t biased. That they really are talented kids, who are also kind and helpful and funny.
But this year, parents’ evening surprised even me.
My daughter has a job-share this year. A double act. Job-shares aren’t to everyone’s tastes. In all our years of school, this is the first time we’ve had one for the entire school year. This one is a really good one – two talented and experienced female teachers who’ve taught at the school for a long time and work really well together.
‘First, thank you! Thank you for giving her to us!’
They told us how hard she works, how much pride she takes, how thoughtful and kind and polite she is. What a good friend. How good she is at sport. How sociable she is. How they try not to make her star of the day every day, but she very often is. They couldn’t fault her. There is no area where she needs to try harder or take more care.
Her academic achievements are impressive too. Our school looks very closely at points and levels – basically the levels that you get in SATs at the end of year 2 and year 6 all have a points score and there are lots of points in between. The school always knows exactly what point a child is working at in reading, writing and maths. My daughter is working at a whole four points (or two sub-levels), or more than an academic year ahead of where she should be, in reading, writing and maths. As well as being kind and friendly and helpful and all those other things you want for your child.
The teachers said hers was their easiest parents’ evening in the class.
And so to my son. My son is something else. He is incredibly intelligent across the board.
But we sat down and his teacher said: ‘I have NEVER met such a well-rounded character’.
Now that is something to be really proud of. My son is as clever as those weird, geeky kids you see on the telly who have no social skills. His teacher said kids who are academically gifted usually have something different – either lacking social skills or finding sport difficult. But he DOES have social skills. And he’s good at sport. He has lots of friends and is well-liked by kids of all abilities. He knows how bright he is, but he’s not arrogant and doesn’t judge people who aren’t as talented as himself.
That’s what I’ve always admired about my son. He is very clever, but he’s normal and likeable. Nobody who sees him on the rugby pitch or the football pitch would ever pick him out as the clever kid. And that’s something to be proud of in itself.