Why I Can’t Do Parents’ Evening

secondary school parents evening

I’m going to start this post with a little word of apology to all the teachers out there. I know how hard you’re all working. Having worked a good chunk of my career in the similarly underfunded public sector that is the NHS I know just how frustrating it is to work in an institution where you’re constantly pushed to do more with less and where trying to initiate change is as painful as convincing a toddler (or indeed my husband) to eat anchovies. So take this post with the pinch of salted humour in which it’s written and know I have nothing but respect for you.

But parents’ evening (and I’m probably mainly talking about senior school here)….. does it ever get easier? Even if your child is that winning combination of academically #gifted and socially talented is there a parent out there who doesn’t face the gauntlet of parents’ evening with a sense of impending doom? I mean for me it’s yet another opportunity for the world to find out I’m 17 years in to this parenting malarkey and still don’t really have a f*cking clue what I’m doing. Here’s five reasons why I find it so stressful (and wherever possible will outsource to the CheltenhamPapa cos, you know, we’ve got the little one and childcare’s a bitch right?)

  1. Before you even make it through the door you have to park. Usually 27 after school clubs are kicking out at the exact time you arrive so on arrival you’ll be sweating and ten minutes late. In a fit of panic you will have parked in a spot that’s not really a spot and just pray that you can slip away quietly without anyone tutting that not only are you an incompetent parent you’re also a disrespectful parker. But give me a break… I can’t win here you know? Is there anything worse than being the parent that misses parents evening?
  2. First question of the night (thankfully from a smily sixth form prefect not a stern looking teacher) – ‘what form is your child in?’ Cue hairs on back of neck rising…. shallow breathing…. panic, panic…. you put this on approximately 27 forms a week why can you not remember it now! (I can’t actually remember it when I’m filling in forms and have to ask them every time)…. ‘erm……. it’s a number between 1 and 14 – I think maybe 10 or 12? And it has a letter after it? Possibly. Yes. I mean no. I mean, I don’t know.’ Cue queue of parents being held up for 5 minutes while we all try and figure out what form my son is in. I know his date of birth. I could do his date of birth – why don’t they just ask me that?
  3. Already late it’s time to shuffle through the four pieces of A4 showing the list of what seems like 989 teachers with accompanying maps of 5 areas of the school none of which are familiar to you. 5 minute slots to see 10 teachers and no catch up breaks to allow for standing sweating in the corner trying to find out which way is North and where the actual f*ck the IT suite is. Can someone design an app for this please?
  4. Obviously you’re late for every single appointment (especially if you’re lucky enough to be mum to ‘spirited boys’) so the next test of endurance is the sprint. Parents waiting for a certain teacher all sit in the generic waiting area as close as possible to the necessary teacher. No-one makes eye contact or dares to ask who’s waiting for who (does it make it any easier knowing you’re 7th in the queue?) When one parents stands up it’s go go go – you snooze you lose, unless of course that particular teacher is a stickler for order in which case you’ll be seen when he or she tells you you’ll be seen.
  5. It’s a Thursday in January so you can’t even recover from this absolute test of endurance with a pint of wine!

BUT – I’ve done it for now…. we’ve had ‘the talk’ and that will make all the difference to my ‘spirited boy’ and it’s Friday so…. cheers.

Have a great weekend ladies and do tell me in the comments that I’m not the only one?



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