Last night was Nellie's Sixth Form parents evening. As you may know if you read my blog Nellie does not have an easy time. She has severe eczema, alopecia and an under active thyroid. So she has a lot to deal with and deal with it she does. She has been brave enough to ask me to take her to the wig shop to get her a wig to cover her ever growing bald patches - yes they are big REALLY BIG. She has been brave enough to agree to see a Counsellor who helps children through their difficulties when they have an illness that is difficult to deal with. It is working really well and has helped enormously. She also managed to gain FABULOUS results in her GCSE's although her attendance was really poor. A*'s, A's and B's. She has been to her first sleep over at a friends house in years and years - she told her friend she wears a wig, that's a hard thing to do, she also told her that she 'pirates up' with a bandanna when the wig comes off - a hard thing to do - her friend was fab about it and they both had a great night - a normal night for a teenager - the first one in a long long time. She has now made FRIENDS at school, is more sociable, is taking a pride in her appearance, and is trying hard at school. So last night I understood when two of her teachers said her absences would make it more difficult for her to achieve but that they understood that she was not 'skiving' that was OK. We know that it will be harder for her to get to where she wants to be - she works hard and tries her best to catch up and mostly she does catch up.
So when we went to see the last teacher I did expect her to mention her absences what I did not expect her to do was to concentrate on those absences rather than Nellie's achievement. Not for one minute, did I expect her to say, not verbatim I might add, was 'Obviously Nellie is absent from school for reasons of VANITY, that is with regards to her alopecia'. I felt like she had hit me in the chest with the biggest hammer ever. I was speechless for a little while and I then said 'you do know that is not Nellie's hair don't you'. Really, she said, I didn't know. I then pointed out that Nellie was not VAIN and that was not why she hadn't been attending. She said 'well what I meant was it isn't a physical illness is it'. I will now tell you that this 'teacher' teaches PSYCHOLOGY and is a former nurse. Maybe teaching isn't for her. What do you think? Oh and as we left the room she said - loudly - 'Great Wig' there was a queue of pupils and their parents waiting outside.
This morning Nellie came into my room and said she didn't feel well. She wasn't going to school. She didn't want to. She went back to bed. Problem this morning she has a three hour Philosophy and Ethics exam - a mock but important all the same. I lay in bed with my heart pounding, my head racing, sinking feeling etc what did I do. I decided that I would have to be tough, Nellie was in bed crying, she hadn't slept, she did feel awful. I told her that we couldn't let this teacher spoil what she had achieved. I told her, I was cross, that she had to get up, she had to do her exam, and she had to go to school. She did. I am so proud of her. Well done Nellie.
Well my rant is over, I feel better, I am now going to use all this angry energy to clean up the house, then we shall start adding some Christmas sparkle.
Phew. Thanks for listening!