Trini Mom in D Middle was created as a space to express thoughts, concerns, ideas, jokes and random musings about what it means to be a Trinidadian mother, wife, teacher and general observer of life on this twin island.
A couple of weeks ago I received a document from Mam’zelle’s teacher to pick secondary schools as choices for her to be placed after writing the S.E.A. exam (not sure what the S.E.A. exam is? See my previous post here). I took the document home, folded it and put it on my dresser. It has remained there to this day.
I am anxious about this exam and nervous for Mam’zelle to write it. My first Son-son did it already and I was nowhere near as nervous then as I am now and that’s mainly because they are two different children. She is not as excited about schoolwork and does it grudgingly at times. Other times she shoots fireworks from her fingers. I think also because she is a girl and the world works differently for females, that this also influences how I feel. Make no mistake though, other than the (light/heavy) encouragement from me or the hubby, I make it a concerted effort not to display said anxiety. There is no perfection there as sometimes I let it slip but often when I feel it coming on because she can’t remember a particular spelling or mathematical formula, I step away to vent to my husband or I log on to Facebook to commiserate with other parents who feel the same as a result of this dreaded exam.
I know I’ve reached that part of the S.E.A. ride where it’s pedal to the metal but I’m really praying for this ride to slow down and stop. I can’t imagine having to wait until May so for that alone, I thank God it was moved to March (although it remains high stakes for a shorter period of time). A couple of weeks ago there was a meeting held for the parents of the standard five girls and I was really glad that my feelings were shared even though I didn’t speak to anybody. The taut body language in the room spoke volumes. In all the years I have attended meetings in that school, I have NEVER seen so many parents (especially the dads….kudos!!) turn out for one year group. There was a lot of nervous energy in the room that no amount of ice breakers, talks and presentations could allay. As a matter of fact, after one of the members of staff did her presentation on how placement occurs, the tension rose and I left because I felt like I needed to breathe.
Since then, I have done my part in remaining in close contact with her teacher, making sure she is physically, mentally and spiritually fed and staying abreast of the conversation about S.E.A. on the networks with other parents which can also drive you crazy if you don’t scroll quickly and limit the amount of comments you read. Examples of Math sums, Language exercises and Creative Writing prompts are posted at various times throughout the day from parents who need help and teachers who want to help. It’s as though everyone is trying to make sure that all 14 million possibilities for this exam are considered in all the three subject areas and coupled with questions, concerns and venting about the exam process, it can become very overwhelming.
Mam’zelle is in lessons Monday to Friday and now Saturdays as well. The way I see it, if the help is offered to keep her brain busy then I’m completely ok with that. She enjoys working with her friends and she listens to her teacher sometimes more than me and I am completely ok with that as well. Any sign of burnout is met with shutdown and sleep and thankfully it hasn’t affected her other than the usual tweenage complaints about school. Of course balance is key so while we don’t have the time for her to be as physically active as she used to be, she is still partaking in one extra-curricular activity because you know….life…….
I am taking it day by day and will continue managing my emotions until the end of this S.E.A. nightmare. Hopefully when I finally get around to filling out that placement document, time will have sped up considerably. In the meantime let me organize breakfast on this goodly Saturday morning and ready myself to drop the child to school.
Once upon a time on a random Tuesday afternoon, a teacher set aside her lesson to scold her class of form ones (11-13 years olds). They had been behaving badly in recent times and they needed a shake up to try to bring them back to reality.
When the teacher was finished and the bell had rung signalling the end of the school day, she had scarcely reached her office and begun to pack up when she was confronted by another teacher who indicated that two girls who were part of the class to whom she had spoken earlier, had instigated a fight with another female student that very minute. The teacher was aghast. Hadn’t she just spoken to these students about their deportment and their lack of discipline? Was it simply a matter of her 35-minute sermon going in one ear and coming out the next? Had she lost precious teaching time for nothing?
The teacher went outside and proceeded to call the two girls who proceeded to delay in walking toward her. This got the teacher annoyed because she began to think about her own biological children who needed to be picked up from school a whole 60-something kilometres away while she had to be there dealing with that nonsense. She began to shout with authority at the girls about the mere stupidity of their actions and insisted that they go to the office.
Concurrently, one of the girls had a boyfriend who was in another class who decided that he would jump into the fray to save his girlfriend from the teacher who was admonishing her. Upon realizing that the boyfriend was addressing her, the teacher turned to the young boy and spoke to him directly, indicating that no one had called him and he should excuse himself. The boyfriend muttered. The teacher asked for clarity and indicated that if he had something to say he should come to her directly. The young boy bounced up, pointed a finger in the teacher’s face and said she should mind her business. Unrelenting in her purpose, the teacher told him that he had no authority to point at her to which he replied “Hush your cunt”. The teacher replied that she didn’t know that he was aware of any body parts belonging to her and then turned to the girlfriend and said, “You have great taste in men.”
In the office, while writing up the notices to see parents for the two young girls, the teacher’s annoyance switched to amusement. In all of her years working at the school, never had she been so disrespected but she felt as though if it had to happen, it should have been someone a bit more worthy. She jumped in her car and went on her merry way, eager to give her husband the joke about these students’ obvious loss of mental capacity, ruminating on her strategy for the following day and boy would it be a good one.
The mother picked up her own children from school and after her usual pleasantries, realized that something was wrong with her son. He was unusually quiet. He then randomly asks (or maybe not so randomly) when was the next occasion for Confession at their church. This made the mother anxious. At home she realized that he was shadowing her and kept asking for hugs. She didn’t ask him anything but merely waited. Eventually he said he had something to tell her and after almost five minutes of fidgety eyes and playing with his fingers, he said that he knew she was going to get mad but he proceeded to outline what happened. Apparently he was part of a WhatsApp group with boys commenting using very strong obscene language. A parent found out and the boys got in trouble at school with their teacher. He looked at his mother and said that he was sorry and he knew it was “out of his character” and that he got “caught up”. The mother sighed and said she was glad that he told her and she spoke to him about being responsible on social media and not bowing to peer pressure. She imagined that it would be the first of many like conversations but boy was she proud that he found it enough on his conscience to recognize his missteps and to come clean. She trained her son to be sensible enough (not perfect but sensible!) to identify a basic right from a wrong approach and wondered why other parents couldn’t do the same.
Teach your girls how to make their beds, brush their hair, colour coordinate, make juice, clean their sneakers, take out the trash, write spectacular cursive, keep a journal, run with the wind, tell funny jokes, get lost in a book, speak their minds and have an opinion but know the facts. Teach them also how to distinguish car noises, minor plumbing fixes, good robots vs bad robots, different routes to get to one place and the value of screaming loudly.
Teach your boys how to make their beds with no wrinkles, use shampoo when necessary, fold t-shirts, tell the time, fix their shirt collars, wash dishes, use Lego however they want, do minor electrical fixes, speak another language, see the magic in Science, follow their passion and listen. Teach them also how to care for an animal, fry an egg, iron, play with a girl and sing a love song.
These are not concrete but perhaps interchangeable and definitely random. Next stop….resilience…..