Word of the Week: Logistics

(note to self: must find my sewing pattern for this blouse, to make another)

I used to travel a lot with one of my early jobs. It meant days of living out of a suitcase and turning up at the railway stations. Checking myself that I didn’t go into automatic and head off to London instead of Birmingham. Checking connections to Edinburgh, so I had a good chance of getting there in time. Making sure I had all my teaching notes, info on disk (memory sticks and the Cloud were yet to be invented) and a good book, before I put miles between me and home. Organization was the key.

Roll on twenty years and my commute only takes five steps to my home office. Phew. The difference now is that I have a household of people to organize. Make sure they have the right kit and can get to the right place at the right time. Logistics.

This week

For instance this week, we had a year 7 parent’s evening. I booked the slots in the school on-line system, in good time, to see each teacher, and booked a two hour meeting in my Husband’s calendar, weeks ahead, to ensure he was free.

So far so good.Wondering if I can start another crochet blanket like this one.

Next, I still have two other children not directly involved in the parent’s evening.

The Teen was at an after school club, so she would miss her taxi home. Solution: fortunately she is at the same school, so I could take refreshments and her mobile. She’d have to wait it out until I finished.

Youngest had cricket which clashed. Solution: take him with me, in his cricket outfit (subs in pocket), along with refreshments and a new book. The Teen could look after him once she finished her club. In the meantime, he could experience secondary school parent’s evening for a while. (It would be good for him. He only has just over a year before he joins his sisters.) Then Husband would leave the evening early and take Youngest to cricket. I’d cook when I got home.


Our cricketer in younger years

Job done. I issued the timetable for parent’s evenings to the Teen and Husband, so they knew how to find us. Teachers are dotted around the school in classrooms that are not their usual ones, so its a bit like a scavenger/treasure¬† hunt finding them. Even with the map supplied, clues of their whereabouts are gleaned from passing friends. (Labelling six rooms as “Head of Year” without a year group number, is not helpful)

That is just one evening. I could list other evenings/days this week that have required a thinking cap to be placed firmly on my head, but I’m sure you’ve got the idea. Trying to juggle it all so that everyone can achieve what they want to do, or have to do, without leaving anyone out. Some days I win.

Somehow working out a train connection, all those years ago, seems a walk in the park.

Secondary v Primary school

Seeing as I’ve survived a fair few parent’s evenings at various schools now, I thought I’d share eight differences between primary and secondary parent’s evenings.

1. Gooseberry. The teachers talk more to the pupil than the parents. At least us parents get top billing in the evening’s name, I suppose.

2. Obviously this means the pupils come along to the meetings, unlike primary school.

3. Speed dating. You have less time to talk to each of the teachers before you move to the next. We have 5 minutes for each meeting, in comparison to the primary school’s 10 minutes. Takes on the air of how I imagine speed dating must feel.

4. It’s long. You have more teachers to talk to. There are 5 minutes to get from one meeting to another. Sometimes all the appointments don’t fit in perfectly, so you end up with 10 minutes to kill inbetween teachers. The whole evening can take over 2 hours. Not for the faint hearted after a full-on day at work.

5. Blast from the past. As you navigate school corridors and different buildings to find the right room, you will spot people that you haven’t seen since toddler groups. Try remembering names that you struggled with even back then, due to sleepless nights and pregnancy hormones.

6. Blast from the past 2. As you wait outside classrooms, leaning against the walls, trying to avoid eye contact with people you recognize but can’t remember how, you will be suddenly plummeted back to your own school days.

7. Time flies. All the teachers will be younger than you. Ok. Not all, but enough. There will be teachers that are nearer to your children’s age than yours.

8. Over the top. Your child will have prepared you before meeting certain teachers, explaining that you are about to meet an unreasonable ogre that makes the Vogons from Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy sound like a fabulous alternative. It’s not true. They are usually perfectly nice people, that despite being at work for far too many hours that day, can still hold a very pleasant and useful conversation.

Only three more weeks until half term. I know the weeks after that are even busier, as school, etc fits in all the other events and outings that are still to happen. Sigh. It’s best not to look too far ahead. Fill in the forms at the time, put it in the calendar and check the kit. Take one week at a time.

As you may have guessed all the logistics have meant that I’ve not been organized enough to take many photos this week. They are all old ones.


22 thoughts on “Word of the Week: Logistics

  • Friday 5 May, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Oh my, it’s like a military operation! And as you say, that’s just one night! Yes, it’s funny when I think back to what I did before kids and the organisation, responsibility and delegation involved – a walk in the park compared to these days! Interesting reading about the difference in parents’ evenings, too, I have all of this to come. Thanks for sharing with #WotW x

    • Sunday 7 May, 2017 at 10:55 pm

      Yes, life was more straightforward. Not that I appreciated it at the time. Not that I would change it now. Enjoy your primary years. They go by too quickly.

  • Friday 5 May, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    My goodness parenting is a lot of planning, espeically when they start school – just never ending! I love the blanket, it looks so cosy X #wotw

    • Sunday 7 May, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      Oh so true. When they start school, there is no looking back.

  • Saturday 6 May, 2017 at 12:20 am

    I love your photos this week even though they are old ones. Sounds like parents evening took a lot of planning and organising – well done for juggling it all! Interesting to read about the differences between secondary and primary school parents’ evenings. We’ve got a long way to go before that point but it’s good to know what we can expect when we get there! #WotW

    • Sunday 7 May, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      You have got awhile to go. Every school is different, but seeing multiple teachers is a big difference from primary, which must be the same for all schools. Over for another year.

  • Saturday 6 May, 2017 at 9:39 am

    We had parents evening this week too. My daughter’s school uses the online system too, all very easy in theory but chaos in practice (queue jumping, over-running etc). My son’s school relies on the children to make the appointments with the teachers – so we hardly see any of them (or just the ones he wants us to see as the others were ‘fully booked’)

    • Sunday 7 May, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      Your son sounds a character! I’m impressed by our school’s system. It does work on the whole. Teachers do tend to stick to the five minutes and that makes a big difference.

  • Saturday 6 May, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Love your description of parents evening, it’s so true, you end up at the stage where you 4pm appointment is running very late and you are trying to see what other teachers are free that you could slot in, without ending up missing your 4pm slot! The online system seems a better idea, rather than trying to get your child to book in the times.

    • Sunday 7 May, 2017 at 10:45 pm

      It is the juggling, isn’t it? I’ve done both methods and I prefer the online system.

  • Saturday 6 May, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Ahh! You are so organinsed! Well done!
    I hope the parents evening went well. #WotW

    • Sunday 7 May, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      It did go well. Ha! I’m so seldom described as organized.

  • Sunday 7 May, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Wow, I’m worn out just reading this and am anxiously biting my nails in preparation for secondary parents evenings, which are yet to come! #wotw

    • Sunday 7 May, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      I’m sure most people have a far more straight forward evening. I need to balance everyone else in the family. Didn’t mean to worry you!

  • Tuesday 9 May, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    how i hate parents evening and the 5 minute rotations, fortunately with my son in boarding school i get 1:1 time with the teachers when i visit the uk these days and get a much better picture of my son’s progress #tweenteensbeyond

    • Friday 12 May, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      I bet. Gives more time. I wish they would give some subjects extra time. I’m sure it would help to identify issues and ways forward. I can but dream.

  • Thursday 11 May, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Cheryl oh this is must be the most hated evening in the parents’ calendar and for all the wrong reasons that you have identified. It really is a logistical nightmare made worse by the fact the teachers scatter themselves around the school. At my eldest’s last ever parents evening we were literally sprinting a one minute mile between appointments and it is always made worse by the fact that some people overrun and really don’t care that they are messing up your schedule.

    My youngest is in year 9 which as we all know is the busiest year in terms of number of topics to study and in total we had 18 appointments and left after 3 hours which on top of a long day of study for her and work for us is just madness. There must be an easier way! Thanks for linking with us again. Am sure many will empathise with this post. #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Friday 12 May, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      Three hours! Goodness. I did go to one parent’s evening where they had set up table and chairs, so lots about 30 teachers were all in the same place. They then ruined it by scattering the rest of the teachers around the school. There must be a better way.

  • Thursday 11 May, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    This is everything I’ve ever heard about the secondary parents eves. It’s going to be fun! Gosh five minutes – mind you that’s probably a godsend at 11.00pm!!! We have to take kids now (which I don’t like) so am well used to that. Not sure about the talking to the kids at parents evening though. Don’t they do that during school time. Oh well a learning curved awaits. Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond

    • Friday 12 May, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      Yes, I’ve wondered why they can’t see the children during the day. Even if they spaced out their appointments over the year, during lunch breaks. I have experienced an even worse system, which wasted a whole day, so I guess I shoud count myself lucky.

  • Friday 12 May, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Oh my goodness, the organisation! I have three kids and I find myself doing the same quite often. I love the comparison between high school and primary school parents evenings. I had never thought of it like speed dating before but will stick in my mind now because that is excatly what it is like! Thanks so much for joining us at #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Friday 12 May, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      Sorry to put the image in your head. It wil be difficult to shift, but might lighten the moment!

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