Dear teacher, please give me some notice!
Excuse me? You want me to provide a historically accurate costume and take the morning off work to watch the performance. With two days' notice?
Anyone who has a child in primary school will recognise this scenario.
Your little one comes running out of school on Tuesday afternoon, all excited, clutching a note from their teacher.
But the contents of the billet doux make your heart sink: "We've had lots of fun in the past week, learning about Romans/Vikings/Tudors [delete as appropriate]. To mark the end of our topic we are having a fun day on Thursday and would love to see the children dressed up as a centurion/Viking soldier/King Henry VIII. We are also performing a short play about the topic at 9am, to which you are all invited. See you there!"
Excuse me? You want me to provide a historically accurate costume AND take the morning off work to watch the performance. With two days' notice?
Yes, it appears they do.
Take a quick look around the playground and you can spot the despair from those parents who are either explaining to their loved one why they can’t make it to the play or wondering how to make an old white pillowcase and a bit of tin foil into a half decent costume.
Each September I hope school will change its ways. This year, I will convince myself again that we will get PLENTY of notice for these costumes, the special assembly dates in school, the plea for cereal boxes and special cake decorating goodies. My disappointment will be palpable within days.
These cheery last minute requests occur all too often. Recent panics have ensued over a Roman costume (thanks goodness for Home Bargains with its cheap purple sheet and safety pins), and costumes for a medieval theme day and Victorian theme day – my son wore the same outfit (don’t ask).
Then there was the time we were asked, with little notice, to go and watch a special music performance at 9am. There was no time for me to re-arrange work. I’ll never forget the look of disappointment on my son’s face.
Alison Dunn, who has two children in primary school, said she wished schools were more considerate with the amount of notice they give for activities and special occasions.
“Some of us work, you know,” she says. “It's all down to good communication and I feel most school lack this. I like to think that they're so busy giving our children the best education possible that sometimes things like letters slip their mind. A bit more noticed would be appreciated.”
Mum Karen Russon admitted she and fellow parents at her school gave up at the last minute pleas.
“[It] happened about three times last year. I lost track in the end. I seem to remember monster, mad scientist and French day. We were also were asked to have specific colour tops for sports day in July - think most of us just gave up at this point!” she laughs.
So, if there is just one plea to teachers this year, it is this: PLEASE give us as much notice as possible.
For most working parents – and even non-working parents – two or three days just simply isn’t enough.
Dahlicious Dress Up Day
*Whispers* Here’s a heads-up: on September 30, 2011 the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity is organising a Dahlicious Dress Up Day. School children up and down the country are being invited to go to school dressed as their favourite Roald Dahl character.
School children up and down the country are being invited to go to school dressed as their favourite Roald Dahl character. You never know, your school might take part! Don’t say I didn’t warn you ...
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