Saturday, January 28, 2006

Learning Curves

Cameron received his results from his NCEA exams on Thursday. Students all over New Zealand have been waiting for their results to turn up on January 26th, since they completed their papers early December. The results showed up online later that day.

My son hasn't really shown too much stress about these results coming in. He's been almost blaise about it on the outside...I'm sure on the inside he hadn't forgotten, but on the outside? Nope, didn't show it at all.

I rang him from work on Thursday morning, once I knew the postman would've been and gone. He was still asleep. One of my co-worker's was telling me about how her son was so beside himself waiting for the results to turn up, he'd been unable to sleep the night before....he was up and online at 7am that morning seeing if they'd be posted yet. Hearing that and seeing the anguish on his mother's face...my heart went out to the two of them.

I eventually managed to get hold of Cameron. He'd received his results. I very carefully asked him how he'd done. (In reality I wanted to yell "Why haven't you rung me to tell me already??!)

"Oh, I passed" was the casual response.
"That's great news honey, well done!" (more excited than him)
"Well I knew I was going to pass Mum" (how arrogant is that?)
"Yes alright dear....and how well did you pass? Are YOU happy with the results?"

He was very happy with how well he'd done, although he was surprised by some of the results (not in a good way)....we discussed this later that evening. The NCEA is a relatively new style of school examinations here in New Zealand. Quite frankly I think the system is sucking big time, but that's probably because I don't understand it very well.

It also appears that the teachers themselves are struggling to understand this new system. There has been quite a bit of controversy about it in the media....the teachers and students are interpreting the questions of the exams differently....the questions can be so vague, teachers and students have been confused. It's almost pot luck that the students give the 'correct' answer.

Anyway, the bottom line is, Cameron passed and more importantly, he was happy with the results. His highest marks were for Japanese (81%), Music (76%) and Mathematics (72%). Both of us were surprised with the Science (62%) and English (69%) results....these have been two of his best subjects since the dawning of his first day at school. He scraped through History with a scary 50% lol. He achieved 133 credits out of a possible 145. From what I understand, he needed 80 credits to achieve a pass...120 credits (at this level) to allow entry to university. Understandably, I'm very proud of him.

For someone who is used to hitting the late 80s, 90s and occasionally striking the jackpot of 100% all through his school career, I think Cameron's realised that when it comes to the exams that count, he's going to have to actually do more study than he did the past year. The NCEA Level 2 exams (this year) are a different kettle of fish....the bar is raised well above Level 1. Cameron's now aware he's going to have to buckle down and sort out some type of study strategy as opposed to cramming the night before the exams and swaning through the mocks.

2006 is going to be a big year for me as a parent I guess. Ryan will be going through his NCEA Level 1s, and some of you will know that he's a different student entirely. Cameron will be dealing with NCEA Level 2. And me? Well I'll be here supporting and encouraging them both...trying hard not to put pressure on in the wrong places or at the wrong times.

Both my sons have the potential to reach great heights intellectually...they've proved that time and time again over the years. I don't want to become one of those parents that pushes their kids to drive harder because I know they can achieve more. I want to be relaxed enough to allow them to make their own choices and realise the satisfaction and personal victory of getting there on their own steam and merits.

Well...I guess there isn't anything I can do but wait and watch...like an outsider of sorts. I know there comes a time when we as parents need to step back and allow our children to make their own way in life...a time when we can't interfere and 'make' them do what we think is best for them...trusting that they'll make the right decisions for themselves.

Teen years are certainly trying ones. No wonder they've written shit loads of books on the subject. I like to think I've given my boys more and more independence as the years have gone by....letting those apron strings out further and further.

Yet....I still have that urge...that ache deep inside...you know the one? That's the one where I want to frantically yank that invisible string back in and hold them close, never allowing anything or anyone negative to touch them.

I know that feeling is never going to disappear regardless of how old, independent and successful they become. I always wanted to be a mum...I love being their mother...and I feel I honour my children by telling them that fact. They've both, on seperate occasions, made it obvious that they also love that I'm their mother.

Yes...2006 is going to be something else....it's certainly going to be a very interesting year with new roads to travel and unexpected swerves to negotiate for all of us.

Aw hell...we've made it this far and everyone still survived....how hard can it be?
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