My daughter had a meltdown last night on the eve of returning to school after the summer break. I hadn’t appreciated how much the end of Year 2 tests had affected her and she was panicking about the prospect of more tests now she was moving up to juniors. She was convinced that she would be tested again on everything she had learnt in Year 2 within a week of returning back to school “and I have forgotten all that I learnt Mummy” she cried in despair.
I was despairing at a 7 year old stressing about tests. She was frustrated that they didn’t let her know in advance about the tests. I explained to her that they did that so as not to cause any concern and that the reason for the tests is to identify areas where each pupil may need more support. I couldn’t fool her though, she was frustrated and ashamed that she had been asked to do more challenging tests, yet when she did them her friends seemed to find the questions easier and were quick to get through the questions whereas she didn’t manage to answer all of them because it took longer for her to work them out. I am embracing the concept of the challenge mindset and explained to her that it is not a bad thing if you are thinking hard about a question because it means you are exercising your brain and working things out. I don’t want her to fall into the trap of becoming an ‘approval junkie’ working things out with the pressure of getting them right and fast just to meet the approval of a teacher or parent. I would rather she fully understood her workings out and enjoyed the process of thinking.
I also despaired at the prospect of the exams ahead of her. If she reacts this way about Year 2 tests what is she going to be like at secondary school? It feels harsh to test a child at 7, but I can see the rationale for doing so as it is the easiest way to measure progress and understanding. Its just hard for children to interpret tests as a positive experience and it is hard, as teachers and as adults, to convey it as a positive experience.
On a lighter note, my daughter was quite stressed about her new teacher. “What are you worried about?” I asked her, “I am worried that he is very tall and I don’t like tall people”. “Why don’t you like tall people?” “Because I get a pain in my neck looking up at them”…………”stop laughing Mummy its not funny”………”Teachers should be shorter”……Mummy STOP LAUGHING!!!!
I did eventually calm down and reassure her, seriously, that he will probably sit down occasionally to give her neck a rest.
I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. If you enjoyed this blog I would be grateful if you could visit my fundraising page on Unicef’s site.
Thanks for reading.