My boy wants to change the whole education system. Seems a whole lot wants to change it lately but specifically he wants to change it because he maintains all the stuff he has to learn and regurgitate is irrelevant and will be forgotten after June anyway. “Why do have sit and analyse fictional characters and why they did whatever they did. They didn’t do it anyway, it was all made up!” he rants totally exasperated. I let him rant and keep my eyes on the road. The funny thing is he is top of his game in English but with May looming the steady simmering and getting on with it has reached boiling point! “And another thing, how can anyone judge anyone on a piece of paper that is written to the time of a beating clock…it’s just random!”
I could advise him that exams or just that, exams, to test your intelligence, to see have you applied all you learnt, to test your ability to retain knowledge and problem solve but I don’t. I just keep driving.
By the time I get him home he has got much of his frustrations out of his system and has calmed down. “The system is not perfect son, and I know it seems futile but it is the way it is for now and when you get your papers you can shake them at the system like you did last time, and if I remember correctly you got top marks…” He nodded then and said “right,” as he swung the car door open. Hauling his bag groaning with books behind him he went back to his desk to start revising. Again. “…and turn your phone off,” I shout after him. Without turning, he gives me a thumb up but we both know he can’t remember where the off button is on that blasted phone because he hasn’t switched it off for a very long time!
I sit for a moment and rant to myself in the privacy of my car. He says he needs his music to study but I know the social media lines are wide open and if he dedicated as much time to his books as he does to every freaking bleep from Snap chat and What’s up and Instagram…well maybe he wouldn’t be all panicked and frustrated now when it comes to actually having to learning something! Rant over. I get out of the car and go back to biting my lip, reassuring, encouraging and telling him “You can only do your best.”
I was half inside a cupboard that hadn’t seen the light of day for I don’t know how long when the text came through. Missy came with my phone (the young ones treat every noise that phones make as an emergency…have you noticed this?) I banged my head on the way out of the cupboard telling her it could have waited but she stood with her offering, outstretched. So I pulled of my marigolds and read the text. “Got er…” it said. I looked at Missy. Her broad smile widened mine.
Our boy passed his driving test, first time and the readers of this column will know I have been expecting to hear this news. Well, ‘the social media didn’t stop progress there,’ I say to myself. Let’s hope it doesn’t stop progress in May and June either. Good luck to all preparing for exams at this time and over the next few weeks I will offer you some general exam stress-busting tips for you and for your parents too!