Friday, 17 January 2014

Self Reflection

It does make life easier if you know who you are and what you are capable of. Both the children have up until now always attended schools where they were asked to reflect on their own work and as a consequence to come up with ways to better themselves. Culminating in handwritten pearls of wisdom that I will treasure forever.

Like the one the now 12yo wrote in his first year at his school in Switzerland. 'I will try and concentrate more in class and not to day dream so much. In order to do that I will stop sucking my thumb.' Still very much a work in progress of course. Just like the next one: 'I will try to participate in whole class discussions, even if I don't find the subject very interesting.'
Flicking through his folder the other day I came across a sheet he apparently had been asked to fill in just after he toured me around on the annual 'show-your-parents-what-you-have-done-in-school-so-far-this-year-day'. 'I think it was challenging to share the 'writing wall' with my mum, because she asked a lot of questions which were hard to answer.' Mmm, I can be a bit strict, especially when it comes to my children's spelling, or creative writing, as I am a bit of a language freak myself. My son must have really felt it that day.
My son's observations might by the way also explain my daughter's reluctance to show me any of her homework sheets. These days, when she can't stall me any longer, she'll just wave her work in front of my face. That way, I can't possibly read any of her writing. But even so, she has the habit of warning me that she is going 'to correct her work in school'. In other words: bugger off mum!
Let's see what she had to say about her work and attitude in class, when asked by her former international school teachers. 'I am proud of my work, because I put loads of detail', she has written down. And also: 'I am a thinker as I managed to answer all of the maths questions'. But also: 'I showed respect for my friend's religion'. I really like that.
She also showed some good insights in her weaker points. 'I could have tried to focus a bit more', she has written down at some point. She also promised various teachers to: 'listen to instructions the first time' and 'to hand in my homework more regularly'.
In the absence of reflection sheets in their new schools, we could may be reflect a little bit more at home. I for one should have written down: 'I will try and really listen to my children when they tell me very long stories about a goal they scored two years ago in some playground football match, or describe minute to minute a film that we watched together not even an week ago'. Or: 'I will play more board games with the children, even though I really, really want to lie down on the sofa and read my book.'
Who knows, it might be very therapeutic to put my goals in writing and keep them in a special folder. That way I could at least try to change some of my less attractive behaviours. Regularly updating those goals would ensure that I don't have to focus on the same shortcomings all the time. And may be, but only if I try very hard, I could reach that comfortable place, my 10yo seems to be in. These days she apparently completely accepts who she is, all flaws included.
At least that is how I interpret the lines she wrote down in her new Dutch spelling book. When asked to tick one of the two following boxes: 1. 'I do not understand this spelling rule and would like to practise it some more, or 2. 'I completely understand this spelling rule and I feel confident using it', my daughter has boldly ticked the second box. But then she added -  in barely legible, miniscule writing: 'I do forget to use it though'.