So its finally happened. After years of smugly assuming that pushy parents had little else in their lives and were generally the devil incarnate, I find myself becoming a competitive Mummy. Up till now I've sneered at people who obsess about their kids education. Our three have always been sent to the nearest school and as long as the school hasn't had a reputation for (overt) drug dealing, I haven't worried. I've always maintained that if kids are surrounded by books and are encouraged to stick their nose in one for hours on end, they'll turn out all right. I still think this is true but now 'Le system' is forcing me to reconsider.
Last week the eldest and I went to an open day at a Lycee with an international section. These sections are few and far between and I have to say, I was impressed. Very impressed. So was the daughter whose mission in life is now to get herself a place there and surround herself with people who are interested in things other than the price of sheep. Unfortunately a lot of other ex-pat parents and children also seemed to think the same way and as a result, there's a huge demand for limited places.
Now the daughter, although very bright has never really applied herself and has a frankly, rubbish 'moyen'. As the dreaded moyen will be taken into consideration and count against her, once I realised this, I found myself swinging into action. Before you could say 'Helicopter Parent', I had a friend re-writing the motivation letter. The daughter used her initiative and canvassed all her teachers, persuading them to give her a cracking write up. She even managed to get some parts of previous terms reports re-written 'to better reflect her true potential' . I do love this aspect of France, everyone knows there are rules and how they can be bent. I can't imagine that happening in the UK and can you imagine the furore if it did? I found myself swopping English conversational classes for her off spring with the Maths teacher who'll be providing private tuition. She has to take an entrance exam and whether all this extra effort will prove enough, only time will tell.
If nothing else, its been a salutary lesson for me. I promise I am now going to stop being a competitive Mummy again but first, I have to finish her Latin homework and complete a 3D model of an iron age settlement for her younger sisters history project....