GCSEs? A Levels? Ofsted? Kids in uniform and starting at the age of four? These were some of the foreign-sounding words and concepts to me as an American with kids in British schools. In fact, there were enough differences that I’ve included a chapter in Finding Myself in Britain (coming soon!) on the topic. But I didn’t include anything about secondary school, because when I was writing I had scant experience with it. Now that PyelotBoy has launched from primary to secondary, however, I am forming a few impressions.
The main one has to do with his growing independence. Whereas I can clearly picture the setting of the kids’ primary school, with its familiar and friendly teachers and staff, PyelotBoy’s secondary school is much more hazy. I haven’t yet met any of his tutors; nor can I picture him very well in the dining hall or in one of his classes. Besides the first day of school when I dropped him off – with him eager and antsy to get out of the car – he’s made his way to and from school on his own. He’s making new friends and becoming more responsible.
This independence is right and what I desire, and yet so very poignant. As pictures of him as a toddler and young boy flash across my screen saver, I sigh and smile. We parents have such a short time with our kids – I know the days (and nights) can feel long but the years go by quickly, in that well-known saying.
And so as PyelotBoy launches into year 7 and secondary school, I breathe a prayer and give thanks for the young man he is becoming.
If you’re a parent or aunt/uncle or caregiver with a child who has made it through secondary school, what advice would you give?