Saturday, 22 November 2008

Week 12: Teacher's birthday

Monday is J’s teacher’s birthday.

Hurrah ! Even in Switzerland, this means “no homework” apparently. So J is thrilled, until Tuesday, when she gives them more than usual, he's then late home from school after having to stay to finish off some work from that afternoon, and works flat out until his choir practise. I go out to my own choir rehearsal at that point and leave them with the babysitter as OH is away on business, but when I get back she tells me that it had taken him ages to finish his homework and he had had about 5 minutes to unwind before going to bed. Having to do rote learning on the geometry obviously doesn't help, nor still practising the Kopfrechnen, but I am trying to press on and keep on top of the homework situation without actually becoming a Rottweiler. They have 2 days off next week for “Ustermart”, whatever that is. Potentially, if we keep the homework under control, they can then have 4 days off school work (Thursday – Sunday), which they both need, J desperately. It’s still nearly 5 school weeks to the Christmas holidays, and they are both at a very low ebb now with tiredness from the language immersion.

Perhaps not surprisingly, J wakes up nearly in tears on Wednesday, claiming he hadn’t slept well at all, and is exhausted. I could weep for him too, but I know that with patience and a lot of TLC we can get through this stage.

Thursday night we test the geometry, and he seems to have taken it in.

Friday morning sees the test. In Kanton Zurich the marking system is 1-6, with 1 being the lowest and 6 being the top mark. The class have all been told that they must score at least a 5 or they will reset the test until they do. She’s a tough cookie, this Friday teacher.

J is home at lunchtime, with the news that he got top marks and a very nice comment from the teacher on the test sheet. Huge relief all round – this has been a painful but useful exercise:

1 The fact that he managed to get the top mark is excellent for his confidence – he knows he can do it now.
2 It was good for his verbal and written German – and geometry !
3 Rote learning is exceedingly boring, but sometimes necessary, and if that’s what the teachers want, then you just have to shut up and do it. Fortunately it doesn’t seem to be expected the whole time.

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