Sunday, September 26, 2010
Ok, here's one for you:
Last week I had Anna's Back To School Night. For those of you, like me, who are thinking, 'what the chuff is a Back to School Night?' it seems to be a parents evening where the teacher outlines what your children will be doing in the coming year, and then strong-arms you in to volunteering in the classroom.
We all sat in a circle on comically small chairs and Anna's teacher asked us to introduce ourselves, say who our child was, and then pick a word to best sum them up.
Growing up, my surname landed me right at the bottom of the alphabet, and there's nothing a teacher likes to do more than go round the class in reverse alphabetical order. Consequently I have learned to think on my feet. I was sitting to the teacher's left and got to go first.
"Well," I said, "My name is Ali blah blah, my daughter is Anna, and if I had to choose a word to describe her I would say 'verbal'."
Laughter, from the parents of girls.
"She's got an amazing way with words, she's a great communicator and reader, and basically manages to express herself very well".
"Ha!" says Anna's teacher, "if I had to pick a word I would say precocious".
Is it just me or is that a hugely double-edged sword? WTF? Is she saying smart or smart-arsed? People laughed, but I was thinking, really? When has being a precocious child ever been a good thing? Obviously I would prefer precocious to 'brain like a slug', but every other child was described by their parents as 'happy, helpful, creative' etc and she felt no need to interject.
What does it mean?