Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Dear Gym Teacher...Love Mum

On Thursday morning my son had yet another (is-this-toothy-traintracks-saga-ever-going-to-end?) appointment with the school orthodontist, and this particular one would take a whole hour in the Dreaded Dentist’s Chair.   Which meant he would miss at least one, if not two, classes.   My son started school six years ago and, in the past, he would simply inform the Maths/Danish/Woodwork teacher and head off to the (this being Denmark, land of high taxes, very swanky) school dentist.  But on Thursday morning, he said, “Mum, I need a note from you, and it has to be handwritten!”   A handwritten note?   In 2013?   Has the boy gone mad?

Handwritten note - anno 2013

Now, you see, correspondence with our local Danish school is always done electronically. Timetables, changes of schedule, notice of Parents Meetings, information about school parties, homework assignments, reading logbooks, etc, etc, etc.   It’s all on the school intra.   If it’s not on intra, it doesn’t exist…   Your child is sick and can’t come to school today?  Don’t phone.  E-mail the teacher.   You’re taking the family on a trip, outside of the official school holidays?  Apply online. Have a question for the school nurse?   Send her a mail.   Permission slips for a trip?   Oops, wait, those don’t even exist here!   No, those crazy but terribly sensible Danes have – thankfully – not yet caved in to hysterical Health & Safety rules.   When my daughter was around 8, she went on an overnight camping trip with her class - no access to water or flushing toilets.   In the higher grades, the entire class cycles into town/to the nature centre/to camp.   A couple of years ago our school even cancelled classes because of snow and instead took the kids out sledging…cool!

But back to that handwritten note.   My son is now in 7th grade and – as his class teacher informed us at the first Parents’ Meeting – something strange happens to these newly-hatched teenagers when they move away from the ‘our-every-move-is-being-watched!’ confines of middle school and over to the ‘way-hay-we-can-do-whatever-we-want-and-even-leave-the-school-at-lunchtime-to-go-and-buy-Coke-and-sticky-buns-’cos-heck-we’re-fed-up-with-all-that-healthy-ryebread-nonsense’ more laidback form of high school.   Apparently our sweet little darlings turn into Jekyll and Hyde when they walk through the school door.  (I was going to write “though the school gates”, but, hey, we don’t have those either here, as the school isn’t fenced in…)

Our kids will apparently do whatever they can in order to get out of class.   Especially gym.  Yep, the teachers have heard all the excuses.   They’ve also been presented with texts on smartphones apparently sent from Mor (“Mum”).  Hmm, why does Mum have several different telephone numbers?  They’ve also received ‘please excuse my child from class’ notes, typed on computers, unsigned.

So from 7th grade their rule is that, if you can’t attend gymclass, you have to have a handwritten letter.   On real paper.  Signed.   With a real pen. From Mor (“Mum”).

Though, this being Denmark – where real men also make packed lunches, cycle their offspring to school, do the grocery shopping and turn up en masse at Parents’ meetings - a handwritten note from Far (“Dad”) is – selvfølgelig – also acceptable. ;)

Have a marvellous Monday – school or no school!

Diane :)

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