Beware the parent who attends the parent-teacher interview armed with note-pad and pen. It portends a forensic grilling from which the chalkie will bear visible scars.

“Now, we’ve covered grammar, spelling, analytical skills and essay writing,” the scribbling parent ticks them off, “Perhaps if we could move on to conceptual thinking”.

By which you may infer that the parent-teacher interview is anticipated with the same pleasure as a prostate examination. In both instances, you go into a foetal position; with both you try not to think too vividly about what is happening. A good part of the stress resides in the difficulty of tailoring the honest truth to what parents want to hear. Teachers, as a consequence, employ a kind of code. Most of the time this works a treat. There are, however, parents who, with the aid of some fiendish Enigma device, have cracked the code and you sweat bullets under the lamp of their gaze. So what follows is For Your Eyes Only.

The Code

Tarquin could use class time more productively: Tarquin is a lazy, disruptive sociopath whose place is being warmed in one of Her Majesty’s places of confinement.

Shaqeel has a pleasant demeanour in class: Shaqeel is a bubblehead whose natural metier is to stand behind a counter and chime “Not a problem” and “Absolutely”

Does Jeremy do much reading at home?: Jeremy is functionally illiterate (NB. The cunning use of a question as a diversionary tactic.)

I am very heartened by Mustapha’s recent progress: Prior to this, Mustapha was doing a very plausible impression of a basalt garden rock.

Gemma can sometimes he distracted in class: Gemma has ADHD.

Jack’s work could be neater: It is easier to read Blue Poles.

I would like to see Omaha do more reading at home: It’s about time you did a bit of parenting.

Marli could contribute more to class discussions: I’m not even sure who Marli is.

Ah yes, young Phan: (To self) quick, quick, idiot, which one of the Asian kids is it?

Morgan appears to have missed a lot of classes lately: We’re beginning to think Morgan is the product of a phantom pregnancy.

Banajee has scored A+ in all his assignments, makes intelligent and most interesting contributions to class discussions, helps others, completes all homework and obviously pursues his own research into the wee small hours and I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO COMPLAINTS: Please, please, don’t interrogate me about the solitary mark Banajee failed to acquire over the course of the semester, IT’S REALLY NOT THAT IMPORTANT AT YEAR 7.

Having read the above, destroy immediately.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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