A’s school have a Showcase Assembly most Fridays when various certificates are handed out and two children from each class are selected to sit on the “praise bench” for special recognition. The sceptic in me decided quite some time ago that this is probably a rota thing and suspect that all of the children get a go on the bench at some point each school year. I could be wrong but I don’t think so. Anyway, A was selected for this weeks assembly and so K and I dutifully went along.
We’ve been to quite a few assemblies over the years. Both of the children have been on the bench each school year (proving my theory) and we are familiar with the patter. My children are bright but not stellar students and they have normally always come away with certificates pronouncing what kind, thoughtful classmates they are rather than praising them for their mathematical prowess. I don’t have a problem with this. I am incredibly proud that my daughter was told she was a wonderful learning partner (where do they get these names?) who supported a less able child with real compassion. And that my son was a true example of a caring classmate and a role model to others. What’s not to be proud of? But I guess, a bit like being told you’re the “funny one who’s always good for a laugh” when you’re a twenty-something desperate to be classed as sexy, it can be a bit of a let down for a child when they probably don’t yet fully appreciate that kindness wins over genius every bloody time.
So this morning I had my fingers crossed for my lovely girl, on her last ever turn on the bench, that she would maybe get praise for something a bit more tangible. And I was proud of and pleased for her in equal measure when she was told that she had shown an “excellent attitude in her SATS revision and tests”. She may not get the highest marks in the class but by god she tried her hardest and never stopped being positive the whole time. Good on her.
As I sat there for the last time (apart from the upcoming leavers assembly at the end of the school year) I have to admit to a little pang. Yes, I used to moan about how long the assemblies last; how many certificates?; how fair it is(n’t) that certain children get a certificate for not being a little s**t that week; or why that child is allowed to help out with the music when they were darn near expelled the week before? but all scepticism aside its really quite lovely that they recognise that some kids are just “nice kids” and that not everything is about highest scores and league tables. My kids have mostly been very happy there and they were appreciated for the lovely beings that they are. I will miss that.