Yes, I’m going to write about Rose’s first parent consultation evening. Let me start by recalling twenty two years worth of consultations from the teacher side. They were often long, gruelling affairs tightened by an acute intensity from the long hours of focused conversation.
We knew who the malingerers where; the ones who would blatantly abuse their ten minute audience into something approaching a single person with a single panellist in question time. But there was no David Dimbleby to see fair play. Certain members of an exhausted flaking staff would be subject to a carousel of repetitive questioning from the hangers on.
There is no polite way of putting it. They were a bloody nightmare. My first thought was to keep to time. It was a polite game of verbal tennis. I was already versed with snapshots of Rose’s class time due to an online journal. In fact I was impressed because it highlighted the creative nature and nurture of the teaching.
In the five years since retirement, the early years appears to have morphed from traditional habits of note taking, monitoring and personal teacher-parent presentation into a slick, inclusive and informative operation, making full use of technology.
Ah, I go back to the time when some nerd from KCC was updating the class computer to take a new operating system.
“Personally, I prefer fountain pen and ledger,” I joked. Well she had a complete sense of humour meltdown and embarked on a short shap lecture concerning the danger of Ludditeism. She was right of course. So that’s it! That was my first consultation. Now to the climbing of Everest. The journey was a bit involved. The plan was to get the bus into Tunbridge Wells, do a bit of shopping in the music shop and take the train to Tonbridge. I checked online; 29 due in thirteen minutes. I watched it sail past as I locked the front door.
All right, I’m big enough and ugly enough to cope with waiting half an hour at a Crowborough bus stop-I was not going to trust the live times app. Yes, it’s only the highest point in East Sussex, attracting a wicked south easterly to chill my old bones. Piece of cake-iced cake. No time to shop then.
At Tonbridge, it was time to use the loo. The disabled toilet in Sainsburys is down a narrow corridor. The door is spring loaded. It was like a bizare round from the Krypton Factor. I had to inch backwards gradually pulling the door and trying to hold it with my better foot whilst using my good had to give the bloody thing room to open. Don’t operate your foot in loose shoes. The shoe came off. I was struggling with a door. With shoe back in place, I burst into a large WC. Plenty of room there, if you want a game of five-a-side. But not if you need to use the toilet.
For the convenience of the footballers, the toilet was tucked in the corner with inaccessible bars and the most impossible to reach flush handle I have ever seen.
Back outside, the Crowborough wind was making an appearance in Tonbridge. The quarter mile stroll to the school was along a dark multi-junctioned road with no drop kerbs.
You want to know why I hate Tonbridge?
Thank-you for reading.