First day of school… I shouted, I moped up spilt milk, I wrestled with a firmly shut gob and a toothbrush, I sternly told a 10 year old girl the importance of washing her armpits thoroughly and I cried as my middle son Ozzy stood in line with his class, a new class… he’s having to repeat his last year of school coz he FAILED.
Now as you know I don’t often go off on one, moan my arse off or bring you tales of doom and gloom on my blog, but today I’m going to have a bloody good rant and quite possibly a wine fuelled sob.
As today my beautiful, funny, creative, mischevious and emotional boy had a firm reminder that he’s not good enough, he’s not bright enough and he doesn’t quite fit the mould. Because whilst his school colleagues of five years lined up to meet their new teacher, my boy had to stand in the parallel line with the class below him, looking over apologetically at his old buddies as they called him over into the ‘right line’.
I broke, I cried and I hid in the arms of the lovely Mums who pulled me aside and comforted me, they too surely feeling my anguish at the the utter crappiness and unfairness that has made my child a victim of the Spanish school system.
It seems that here in Spain it is absolutely commonplace for children not quite hitting their grades, as young as seven by the way, to be held back in school.
Please tell me, is it normal that at the tender age of seven my completely bilingual child should be failing?
Because it sure as feck doesn’t feel normal to me!
I’ve done my bit… the reading after school, the creative play, the discipline and most importantly the fun! I have even gone so far (very much against my better judgement) to enrol him into after-school homework club, as his teachers felt that aside from his full day at school, extra class for slow readers and swim club, he should engage in an additional 2 hours a day extra tutorage!
The poor bugger was working more hours that I was FFS!
I have spoken with teachers in the UK who have assured me that this is not the norm, in fact it’s almost unheard of back in blighty!
Steve Biddulph, the world remowned family therapist and author of the groundbreaking best seller ‘Raising Boys’ highlights the damage that can be done to boys in the early years of schooling if a boy sees that his craftwork, drawing and writing aren’t as good as his class mates, “he thinks, ‘this is not for me!’ He quickly switches off from learning – especially if there is not a male teacher available.”
I hope this hasn’t already happened to my boy…
When we recently went to the bookshop to purchase his school books I excitedly showed him his new text book and said, “Oh look Ozzy, these look interesting, would you like a nose?” He replied, “No Mama, I can’t do it, I’m not clever.”
I died a little bit right then, right there, in that God awful stupid bookshop full of clever fucking text books and clever people.
And I told him, “YES YOU ARE MY LOVE, you are clever, you are great, listen to me son… Mama knows you are brilliant!”
Then he kissed me.