And They’re Off

4:30am. Up for school. It sounds wrong to write it. Stranger to live it. It’s 6pm now and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t eyeing up that last bit of French wine in the fridge.

The way the girls’ school schedule is structured, they have ‘lead’ classes for each subject. These are lecture-style lessons. You listen to the main topic and write notes. Not much interaction. This formal lead is followed by two ‘explore’ lessons. In the explore, the teacher goes over the same material, but kids ask questions and do quizzes and games. It is InterHigh’s way of ticking all the curriculum boxes.

The early starts weren’t my decision. Lu has decided for herself that two days in the school week, she’s going to get up for the early shift. Since Bonaire is five hours behind the UK. 5am here is 10am in the UK – until the clocks go back.

The first early morning is for an English Literature explore class. The second is a lead lesson; for Maths. The way Lu’s schedule runs, she has both Maths explore classes right afterwards. We could try to do the explore classes without doing the lead first, I thought. We did try on Tuesday morning. I was optimistic that a lot of material would be re-explained. And Lu did well. I listened carefully to make sure. Still, she finished the lesson and said, ‘I need to get up earlier.’

Ok. New year, new objectives. And quite suddenly, things feel different. We are on the down slope with IGCSE exams. Just one more year and not even a year. They finish early to revise. I’m whispering the word ‘exams’ right now.

With this pandemic, that would be more than the year before hers before managed to complete. Exams would be something of a return to educational normality. Right now, it feels like things could go either way.

Lu’s English class have already been told they do not need to study the ‘seen’ poetry part of their curriculum. It’s being dropped for the exam. This equates to about a third of their final mark. Not the majority overall, but I’d be lying if I said my heart didn’t sink when I heard. Just a little.

This is because Lucia worked hard on those poems. Essays all during Year 10. She learned more about the technicalities of poetry than I knew – and will ever know. Even though so much school was disrupted for so many families; our girls were already going to online school. Lu was working just as hard – before and during the lockdown. Nothing changed for us. Despite this, the decisions made for national curriculums and exam boards will be made for her too.

I cant say that she is upset by this change in her English exam. Ha! She heard the news and threw an instant mini-sunrise party. So I better take my middle-aged opinions and keep them to myself. Admit impediments. Love is not love – which alters when it alteration finds… Time for bed I think. Wine first.

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