School in Tenerife – Getting Report Cards

Notas Day

It was ‘notas’ day yesterday; the day I had to go down to collect the kids’ report cards for the past semester. In typical WTF fashion, the school had cunningly organised that all the teachers would commence group parent meetings at the same time of 4.00pm. At least I only had two kids on opposite sides of the playground and workwise, I am flexible. I have no idea how those who are stuck in the office or have a larger brood cope with these reunions.

I’ve been down to see Hania’s teacher recently on other matters so it was not that important to show my face in her class. Instead, Gaga was dragooned into sitting in for me while I put in an appearance at Sami’s class.  As we left the house to walk to the school,  I saw Sami cast a longing eye over the wrapped Christmas presents under the tree. No doubt he was worried that I would be removing a few if the notas were not up to scratch.

Speaking Spanish Like a Native (… a native Glaswegian)

Over the years my Spanish has got better but it is still quite halting. (My excuse, which I think is a reasonable one, is that I work all day alone at home with only my dog and cats to talk to and they only speak English.) In a person to person chat I do okay but in a classful of parents flinging questions willy-nilly – ahhhhh – not so much.  I might work up the courage to stammer a simple question but then I will end up turning beetroot in embarrasment when I have no idea what answer I have just been given.

So, I just sat quietly picking my nails and grinning like an idiot, waiting for the report cards to be handed out. Finally the teacher took pity upon me and arrived with Sami’s notas. All Bien and Notable, I saw. That’s my boy!

Then I turned the page and my heart sank. What is this? A list of stern remarks. My Spanish might not be very proficient but I could make out every disapproving sentence –

  • Contact the Teacher!
  • Does not act according to the rules!
  • Doesn’t do his homework!
  • Habitually missing class!
  • Has to do better with punctuality!

I was shocked. My good little boy,  what had happened to him? A vague memory of me and Sandra Laird hiding on the roof of the carports, smoking like chimneys as the school bell tolled far in the distance popped into my mind but I stuffed it back down out of sight again.

I guess I must have let out a squeak of outrage because the lady next to me raised one eyebrow and gave me a funny look. Thankfully, on the other side, sat the mother of Sami’s friend Diego. She smiled kindly and asked to see Sami’s notas. I handed them over and acknowledged that yes, he had got good marks but then I turned the page and pointed to the list of complaints about my angel on the back of the form.

Diego’s mum looked at my face and burst out laughing. She turned her son’s form over and there they were again, all those stern statements were listed there too. They were on Elena’s form and Carlo’s form.  They are listed on every report card so the teacher only has to put a tick next to them if she has a problem child.

Ha… so lucky Sami gets to keep all his Christmas presents and I have to give myself a B for Comprehension but a D- for common sense. Tut tut. Must do better!

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