It’s finally here! That oddest term of the year; the final hurdle before the summer holidays begin. It feels like yesterday that holiday feet were being squeezed into new shoes and books were being ferried back and forth for the annual covering marathon.
The first, second and third terms are a giddy mess of studying, extra-mural activities and sports days. The fourth term seems to cram in every conceivable event in the school calendar as well as the nerve-wracking final exams. There will be concerts, prize-giving ceremonies and other evenings, not to mention (if your child is about to finish school) a Matric dance.
The whole year has led up to this point: exams. How on earth do teachers manage to keep classes full of kids engaged when the holidays are taunting them? Parents will be fretting over previous reports and the kids themselves will be kicking themselves about projects not handed in and classes spent daydreaming about soccer matches or TV shows.
Nine weeks. That’s all we have left to get through.
45 days of school lunches, homework books and washed uniforms. We can manage that, right? If you think you and your kids are stressing, the teachers are also getting sweaty palms as they consider a mountain of reports to get through, exam papers to be marked and several late nights ahead.
It’s tempting to give in to incentivising your child at this point. Out of desperation you offer to buy them a car if they’ll just keep attending school and tidying their rooms. Two cars if they pass all their exams and manage not to lose an important item of school uniform.
Some parents do choose a reward system for exams; an agreed amount of cash for a certain grade or access to some other treat. That’s not wrong at all- especially if it works! My own headmaster at school was concerned about my grades so he called me into his terrifying office with its racks of canes and academic gowns on coat hooks and bet me a coke if I got a certain grade at the end of the year.
The following year I headed into school with my head hanging sheepishly, coke in hand for him. His bet hadn’t managed to defeat my apathy.
So it’s an emotionally intense time, too. Don’t forget to give your kids lots of support and allow them room to be even more intense than normal.
Nine weeks… That’s shorter than a Kardashian marriage, and entirely achievable. Why not offer yourself an incentive for getting through it all, too?
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