It was Year 7 parents’ evening last night.

The first parents’ evening with a year group is such a joyful thing when you teach an able group. We recently did a set change and so I now have just two students who are a little below the range of the rest of the group.

We have Ben, I told you a bit about him before, he didn’t know it was parents’ evening and hadn’t made appointments! There’s also Sanjeev who is an attention seeking know-it-all. That’s a very bad combination, especially if you’re taught by Mrs OC.

I have my system off pat now and never go over time, except I had booked Sanjeev a double appointment because I wanted to once and for all nip his behaviour in the bud.

My system is: I introduce myself, say that I teach Maths; explain what the course for Year 7 is about; talk about what little Billy is doing well; talk about what he’s not doing so well in; give them a target for the end of year exam and say how he can meet it; ask for questions or anything that little Billy has been saving up to say to me until he had a friendly adult with him; answer said questions and in the same breath stand up, shake hands and move on.

Does this sound harsh? I’m not treating it like a factory assembly line except that that’s exactly what it is. We’re not in a luxurious setting where I only have 10 parents to see in a 3-hour period. I have 28, that’s 10 parents an hour and I don’t actually want to be here until 8pm if I can help it.

I think it’s mostly parents’ evenings that have made me get my mark-book system sorted. I now know that I can give a perfect report on any student and if I was asked to report on the same one a week later then it would be more or less the same. AND I think that’s what most parents would expect.

I definitely think that accuracy and honesty are more important than finesse on such occasions. What do you think?