It was a clash of wills between myself – the voice of reason, naturally and the mother of my daughter aka Ms Jean Brodie, who these last few days has certainly lived up to her namesake.
Last week, my daughter’s new school held an open day for the parents. It was in reality, a waste of time. They just told us what they expected of our children in these next two years as they prepare for university. We of course already knew all this as we had been told what to expect during the many weeks of looking for a new school attending countless open days last year.
However, it did give us a chance to meet our daughter’s form tutor, who, didn’t actually have our daughter for any of his classes, but did at least know who we were talking about. Ms Jean Brodie didn’t let this opportunity pass however, launching into a long session of probing questions, which the poor hapless teacher had little hope in answering with any conviction as he wasn’t tutoring her. Eventually, even he had to politely bring matters to an halt as he had a string of other parents who wished to engage him in polite conversation.
There was an awkward silence in the car on the way back until ‘Ms Brodie’ ventured to volunteer that she wasn’t impressed with our daughter’s recent French exam. It wasn’t really an exam, more a test paper just to assess what the students had learned in the few weeks since joining the new school.
Unfortunately, our daughter had made an elementary mistake in her grammar, which she had continued throughout the paper and one she had realised almost immediately she had handed in the paper. Naturally, she didn’t score too well. My reaction was to play it down telling my daughter in a jokey sort of way that she was ‘an idiot’ and that she should have known better.
Her mother, I suspect, had a different approach. I cannot honestly say what her reaction was as we don’t communicate so I never got to hear what she told our daughter. However, her reaction in the car did give me some indication as to what it might have been.
I stressed that it was simply an aberration and that she did in fact know what she was doing. Her mother felt otherwise. At this point, I felt obliged to point out that our daughter’s French was far better than hers and, her pronunciation was way better than her own Anglo-French language skills. Undeterred, she continued to press her point citing her own grammar was way superior to that of our daughter’s.
This kind of shocked me on many fronts, not least the fact that she was three times our daughter’s age and really proved to me that she has little grasp on raising a child. I had to retort by saying something along the lines of ‘a fact load of good your grammar is when nobody understands what you are saying. What do you do in French conversation, write everything down on a blackboard?’ She didn’t respond.