On the way to school, Alex and I discuss our favourite stories. As we enter his building, a classmate is wrestling a bag and coat onto a peg. Alex sorts himself out as I stand back by the door. Classmate's mum and Alex’ teacher, Mrs Morrison, are having a chat. Laughingly, Mrs M comments 'Well, you know me blah blah blah', followed by further laughter. It’s all very friendly and informal, she seems nice. They end their talk and Mrs M shoots me a friendly smile as she ruffles Alex’ hair.
Shane: (doing ‘zesty’) Hi there.
Mrs M: Hi-.
Shane: Alex was asking this morning -
Mrs M: Mm-hm.
Shane: - whether he might be able to bring one of his stories in for you to read to the whole class - but I said that he should first -
Mrs M: Oh yes, that would be good.
Shane: Ah, but wait! I said he should ask you.
Mrs M: Oh. Long, is it?
Shane: Well, it's not so much that, but you see, I wrote the story for him last year - when I was living away from here, and it's got some, er, unusual terms in it -
Mrs M: (conspiratorially) Oh! Maybe we could just skim over them?
Shane: Hmm - terms like 'cat-fart' (Alex smiles).
Mrs M: (amused) (shrieks) Oh! (conspiratorially) You should bring it in Alex - but if I can't read it on the day, then maybe another day.
Shane: Great - there'd be no rush or anything.
Mrs M: Yes, bring it in.
Shane: Great, thank you. (To Alex) You have a good day.
And he was gone.
From this, there were learning points:-
1. Mrs M learns that Alex’ home is bookish, possibly even writerly - good thing.
2. Mrs M infers (wrongly) that I was (‘living away’) in prison last year (NB/ I was looking especially rough this morning) - bad thing.
3. Alex assumes that it's ok to use terms such as 'cat-fart' with Mrs M – (on the day of a school inspection) - very bad thing... though quietly amusing too.
No doubt, this is the sort of encounter that Mrs M has many times each term, with other children’s mums, dads and Shanes*.
* The generic term that we have adopted for additional parent-figures. This amuses Alex – good thing.