Thursday, 5 June 2008
My eldest son and I attended a talk last night. It was supposed to make his options for further study clearer for him, but we both came away feeling bamboozled. He goes into Year 11 next year and Years 11 and 12 are the ones that set you up for wherever you want to go after school. But what was described as an easy process, looked pretty complicated to me.
I remember being called into the Principal’s office when I chose my Year 11 subjects. He called me ‘Katherine’ over the PA system, so I knew I was in big trouble. You see, both my older sisters had done Maths, Physics and Chemistry and came at the top of their years. I’d had the audacity to choose, English, French, German, History, Art, Biology (because you had to do a science) and Maths 1 (the easy one). How dare I be so lazy? I tried to explain that I didn’t like Maths or Chemistry and though I enjoyed Physics, I wasn’t good at it. I loved languages and Art and History. He wasn’t having any of it and made me go to all the classes I hadn’t chosen to ‘sit in’ and see what I’d be missing. Fortunately, Dad got a job in another town very soon afterwards and the new school had no preconceived ideas about me. They didn’t teach German, so I had to do just six subjects, but I had no complaints about that. It just meant I had to get better marks because Art wasn’t considered a full subject in the final tally.
Then, when I'd finished school and chose what I wanted to do afterwards, it was my mother who tore up the form and told me to choose something sensible. I’d put Art as my first choice. No way. No daughter of hers was going to become a weirdo! I’d put down Teaching as a second preference, but she said I had ‘too much intelligence to be a teacher’(!!!). So, I ended up with an Arts degree in Archaeology. But then what did I do? Went off to Teacher’s College anyway. And then became an illustrator. That was all right though. I’d given Mum her dream – five kids, all with degrees. I understand her in hindsight. Both she and Dad had missed the chance to get qualifications for one reason or another. So she was living her dreams through us.
That’s why I’m finding it hard now. M is set on becoming a computer games software writer – or whatever the fancy name for that is. All my motherly bones shout ‘No! No son of mine is becoming a nerd!’ But I’m living proof that no matter what I think, he’ll come back to what he wants to do, so why stop him? I just want him to see that there’s so much more he could do with his programming skills. Aaagh! It’s hard being a mother!