This afternoon I took my 6 year old boy to a birthday party. It was for a little girl in his class. I don't know her family, it was at her house, I was a little nervous about going. Turned out there was no need for nerves (as usual) as I sat with a couple of other mums, who happened to be teachers, too. One mum mentioned that she has just taken her boy out of our school. This boy was a friend of my boy's and he hadn't told me a thing about it. That's typical of my boy, never tells me anything, so I was a little embarrassed that I didn't know this. I was also a little shocked because I love the school my boy goes to. I taught there when we moved to this town. Most of the teachers there now were on staff when I worked there. The principal has changed, but I still feel at home there and I'm very happy with the school.
I have heard from other sources that some parents are not happy with numerous things. However I pretty much just thought these were whinging parents who didn't know better. But this mum today is someone who's opinion I take seriously. So when she said she moved her boys, I took notice.
When I came home and told my husband, I immediately knew I did the wrong thing. You see, he's the type who looks for ammunition. If he thinks for a moment something is not right, he's onto it!
So he brought up the question of our boy's extension. Last year he was tagged as 'a gifted learner' in Maths and was having extension classes. This year it was supposed to continue, but I don't know if it has. Our boy says he is not going to any extra classes so my husband was not happy. The parent/teacher interviews are in a couple of weeks and I was going to ask about it then but apparently that's not soon enough.
So, all of this has left me with a million questions...
If parents (who are both teachers) pull their children out of our school, am I missing something?
If other parents are saying they're not happy, am I blind to the truth?
Do I have misguided loyalty to teachers I worked with nine years ago?
Am I right in prefering Catholic schools to State schools*?
Is 'not wanting to rock the boat' making me a lazy parent?
Should I be more proactive in my son's education?
In the case of 'gifted' children, do they lose it if they don't use it?
Do extension classes really make a difference, or do they just keep clever kids busy?
Am I behind the times when commenting on the National curriculum and NAPLAN when I really know nothing about working with them?
Do things still change roughly every seven years in education and these are just new phases?
Can you see now why my head is spinning???
Some of these questions may not even make sense to you.
But if you have any answers to any of them, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
*Just to let you know, all of my own and my husband's primary, secondary (and tertiary for my husband) education was with state education. I studied at a Catholic Uni and have only taught in Catholic schools. I actually prefer them for their religious ethos. I know there are excellent state schools.