Two months until my youngest starts at his new school . Not a natural progression from Junior to Senior school , more like a rescue plan.
He is very dyslexic and struggling to keep his head above water in class. My eldest takes things very literally and so must I because as I wrote that last sentence I could picture his little blonde head gasping for air above the waves in a storm grey turbulent sea. I'm thinking of his new school as an azure lake of with gentle ripples undulating on it's glassy surface. No-one screaming at him to READ THE QUESTION or CHECK YOUR SPELLING - just an oasis of educational calm.
He is bright , loving and has the most wonderfully sunny disposition and yet these skills aren't graded in end of term exams. If they were , he'd have graduated with honours . Instead he gets the occasional 'good effort' begrudgingly penned at the bottom of an arduous writing task.
One memorable put-down which I found in my eldest son's exercise book once read simply 'Must try harder' . Really ? Is his best not good enough ? Who must he try harder for , Ofsted ? a League Table ?
Should they ever read this , here's what I'd like them to come top of class in... ( I think that might be a split infinitive or something grammatically hideous which explains why I was so pants at English in school)
Knowing that they are loved and knowing how to love.
Kindness - that ability to know when someone needs their help and knowing how to give that help.
Generosity - I'd like to think that they want for nothing, emotionally. They need to understand that material possessions aren't essential for a happy and fulfilled life ... as they say ... the best things in life aren't things.
Honesty - “Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.” as Shakespeare famously wrote.
Understanding that what truly makes you in this world is not what life throws at you but how you deal with it.
You can't teach any of these things in a lesso but it would be nice to think that, in between the curriculum strictures and the straitjacket of today's education , a really good teacher could just now and then instill a few of these qualities along the way.