Second update. The family turned up for their exams and father came too. Because I had allowed time for them to go to mass they were the last 2 candidates of the morning. I had told the rep that I would have to absent myself for about 20 minutes of the lunch hour to go home and let the dog out. She suggested that I leave before the lunch break and said she would look after the last two candidates. I warned her there could be difficulties and she said she was sure she could cope. I thought it might be as well anyway if wasn’t there during the exams. I stayed long enough to say a few encouraging words to the children and explained that I was leaving them with the rep. Father was polite. Mother was icy and didn’t say anything.
I got back just as they were leaving so asked the children if things had gone OK and they both seemed quite delighted with their exams. I said goodbye and reminded them that I would see them on Wednesday. In the event the boy got a Merit and the girl just made a Distinction.
I told them their results at their lesson today. It was heart rending to see their delight. I was very tempted to succumb and change my mind about dropping them. I wasn’t surprised about the girl (Grade 1) as she has worked reasonably well and can be very determined. The boy (Grade 2) was very pleased with his result and told me that he had spent all day Monday practising his scales! About half way through the girl’s lesson I realised that there was another child in the next classroom. It turned out to be a friend but I hadn’t been asked if it was OK for another child to be present and since mother was apparently outside in the car waiting, theoretically she should either have asked me or kept the child with her.
I had left the classroom doors open as it was hot. About half way through the boy’s lesson mother appeared in the doorway and said she wanted him to finish early. I asked what time she wanted him to leave and she said whenever it was possible. So I asked him to play his piece through just once more and then let him go. She was not rude or argumentative but her whole attitude, tone and body language started the red lights flashing and I resigned myself to not being able to change my mind, however sad it was.
I can’t help wondering why the father so uncharacteristically came with them for the exams. I do know that he has been asked in the past to “control” his wife so it might have been that – or maybe he wanted to be there to defend her in case I said anything critical.
The boy was very anxious about whether or not there is a lesson next week so I made it very clear that there was a lesson on Wednesday and the concert the following Sunday. I have not received the form given to all pupils some weeks ago about their choices for times in September. They are the only family not to have replied. The date limit for replying is next Saturday. I did not, of course, remind them.
It’s all rather uncomfortable.