School reports - those dreaded envelopes sealed so skillfully by the teacher that any attempt to sabotage their efforts in order to sneak a peak before your parents read it were totally thwarted. Knowing that even the smallest rip in the seal would be detected by your eagle eyed parents as they were about to realise the culmination of your whole year's efforts were about to be condensed to a 4 page review. My school teacher was pretty cool about this. He let us read our reports and then WE had to seal the envelopes, on the very strict understanding that we NEVER, EVER told the other teachers or kids or parents or even the family dog that we were allowed to do this. You could always tell the kids that were going home to a butt roasting by the way they slowly licked the gummy seal, hoping with all their soul that they could lick away the awful comments penned by their subject masters. A whole year of regretting being the class idiot and wishing they'd worked a bit harder. Trying to think of ways to 'lose' the report on the way home, why was the sun shining on a day when you really need a big puddle to accidentally drop your report in on the way home? Why have a rabbit as a pet when you need a big dog to rip it from your hand the moment you get home in its excitement to see you?
This look of trepadation was the exact same look plastered all over my son's face when I collected him from school last Friday. The 'swot' look was plastered all over my daughter's face, so no prizes to guess who was bricking it the most. Joshua always does worry about our opinions of his achievements. He's a very sensitive child, very tuned in to the feelings of others and very eager to make sure he doesn't hurt anybody by his actions or thoughts. Like all kids, he has moments of anger and outburst, but usually his peformances are reactive, not antagonistic. He's had to work hard at controlling his outbursts and this year we've seen him really come on in leaps and bounds, trying hard to channel his emotions in acceptable ways. From a very violent, angry toddler he's growing up to be a charming, sensitive, caring, thoughtful and very lovely young man. He's the only 8 year old boy I know who opens doors for ladies when they come in or out of a building and he's the only 8 year old boy I know who carries the shopping indoors for his Mum and tests the bags looking for the heaviest one. His school report was testament to this when his teacher commented he cared a great deal for his friends. His approach to home learning was noted as 'an example to his class'. His input to class discussion and his determination to constantly question subject matter to full understanding made his teacher 'think hard at times myself'. He gained outstanding marks in all subjects and has built himself a fantastic basis on which to continue his education. I hope he keeps it up, he has so much potential but he's too modest to see it.
Maddie's report was equally as impressive. Outstanding achievement in all subjects. She has attained grades above the national average in her Year 2 SATS and has matured greatly during the year. She still has a tendency to become overdistraught at things that don't pan her way, but her methods of coping are maturing now. She's able to see the bigger picture and to understand that when things go wrong it's not a life changing travesty that will scar her forever. Her approach to subjects which intimidate her are inspiring. She struggled with Maths at the year beginning, but instead of shying away, she faced the fears, worked hard and applied herself. She was rewarded with top marks for her effort, achievement and content. Her ability to become totally absorbed in drama, art and creativity have already been marked as 'unique' by her teachers, even having her submitted for a talented child programme, more of which we hope to hear about soon.
So, Joshua and Madeleine. We're proud of you and what you've achieved this year. You have potential in you that has only just started to bud. Work hard and let it blossom. I love you both.