Monday, 27 January 2014

Fifty Shades of Grey

OK, now I've got your attention, this isn't about the book (which I've not read although there is a copy of it sitting across the room from me that I bought as a present for my other half and she's not got around to reading). I'm also not going to share any strange, kinky interests I might have. Although I did get some grossed out looks when I was talking with two people in work and shared with them one of my little secrets, yes, they looked at me strange when I said I'd quite happily sit and eat a whole plate of mushrooms as I like them so much. Takes all sorts.

The other day I was reading Julie's post  Fifty Shades of Grey and found myself thinking about a phone conversation I had with my Dad recently where I was talking about my son and his up and coming school exams. Yes, frighteningly, he has reached that point in his school education where he sits his GCSEs and as of next September goes onto college to study childcare.

One of the things that I've struggled with for quite some time is how he is progressing at school. I've always hoped he'd do really well at school but as he enters the last few months at school and I look at his projected grades on his reports I know that he's not going to do as well as I'd have hoped.

When he was born we found that he has a condition called neurofibromatosis. It has a number of effects, one of which is that it can cause some level of difficulty with learning. Also with the years of treatment for his leukaemia and also the bone marrow transplant he missed a lot of schooling and has been playing catch-up all through secondary school. The school could have done a lot more to help him than they have, but then so could we.

Looking at his projected grades I've always felt a bit disappointed in how he's been doing. He's never going to be an A* student but his grades are going to be on the low side. I know its not his fault, he's just not academic like that. He's good with computers as he's been using them since he was about  3 or 4 when he had his first laptop, a gift from a charity in response to a Make A Wish request.

He's also amazing with children. I think he'd be an amazing Dad but all the treatment that he's had makes him having his own children unlikely, still there is always adoption.

So back to the conversation with my Dad.

We were chatting about a few things and I happened to mention that my son had been to the college on their second open evening to talk about the course he wanted. We'd wanted to check that the application form had been filled in correctly with the name of the course. By the time he came home he'd hand in the application form and had a date for his college interview.

As I was speaking with Dad I mentioned is grades and that he should get on the course because the requirements aren't very high (its a level 1 course which doesn't require high grades). The course is such that he will also have a day a week to retake his maths and English GCSEs as he's not going to get the grades that the government have decided are the minimum level that youngsters should have.

Having spoken with one of the course lecturers, and from what they were told at the college, I know that he will have all the support he needs to get through his course and also retaking his GCSEs.

As I was talking to Dad I found myself having a lightbulb moment. I found myself saying that my son could always do evening classes in things like first aid and sign language as they would be more beneficial to him in his chosen career than some of the things that he's done at school. As I thought about it more I realised that of all the courses that I did at school and even at University now that I'm well into my career I appreciate the knowledge but the things that I've really learned have been since I left formal education. Their the things I've learned through work and through my own interests.

My son will probably do the same. He'll learn the skills that he needs to do the job that he decides on when he feels that he needs them. His career will probably be of more benefit and helpful to people than mine has been. He's going to be helping children as they grow and explore the world around them. With his experiences through leukaemia and his transplant he will have more empathy for children and families that find themselves going through similar experiences.

Yes, it would be wonderful if he'd been really academic and got good grades in his exams but he's got so much more going for him and its that I have to really work on remembering.

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