Why Won’t My Year 11 Son Realise GSCE Won’t Pass Themselves?
I first did my GCSEs in 1988, yes, the very first year they were introduced and historically the year ‘they gave out grade A’s like advice at a wedding’ and I achieved, if I say so myself, very good, solid A*-Cs and the whole experience was relatively pleasant, fruitful and not actually that memorable.
31 years later, I find myself at the chalkface again, as GCSEs are back in my life but this time surrounded by whole world of panic and trauma. Not me personally sitting them but my 16 year old son James, whose attitude to the whole exam thing is, shall we say, less than engaged. I, on the other hand, feel I am reliving 1988 all over again but this time it actually matters.
I have found myself, over the last ten months becoming increasingly neurotic and panic stricken regarding his exams and this is acting in direct correlation to his lack of concern. The more stressed I appear to become, the less he actually seems to do.
I have cleared entire shelves in W H Smiths of stationery (I have every conceivable colour of Post-it Note); I’ve filed and collated his notes; made and laminated revision timetables and not a day goes by when a Revision Guide from Amazon doesn’t get delivered. Ask me anything on The Long March in China, anything!
I can’t remember my mum ever doing anything like this for me, I have no recollection of either of my parents actually engaging to any great extent in my education or life choices, they let me get on with it. On reflection, I did ok.
Be under no illusion that this period of self-reflection has brought me to the conclusion that I should allow James to take responsibility for his own study; park my helicopter style parenting and simply trust him.
I will shortly venture into his room, tap him on the shoulder, motion in sign language for him to remove his headphones and disengage his weapon. I will then ask him to study, explain to him that I remove the PS4 (which he knows full well I won’t) and remind him that these exams won’t pass themselves.