This week, many mums in Dubai found out which classes their children are going to be in from September.
Each year (and for Son1, it is an annual event), the release of the class lists is an eagerly anticipated event. Mums anxiously pore over the role calls; they take photos of the lists, and discuss at the school gate who little Sylvie will be mixing with next year.
(Believe me, I’ve seen mums sobbing over this).
As for the children, I’m not convinced they’re as bothered as the mums.
It might be different for girls, but for boys, shaking up the classes doesn’t seem to be too big of a deal – especially in a society as fluid as ours, where numerous children leave at the end of the school year anyway and September always sees a fresh crop.
Son1 was given the chance to pick three friends he wants in his class next year, and the letter said they’d try to make sure he’s in the same class as at least one. (I hear some schools in the UK even let you name one child you’d rather not be with).
There follows a process of list building that I can only imagine is like playing Jenga, with the teachers not only taking friendship groups into account, but also gender balance, ability mix and personality clashes.
Far from just bunging the names in a bag and pulling them out, the decision-making must get complicated: “Sylvie makes Tallulah cry so we should split them, and we’d better share out Boris, Hugo and Tarquin because they’re gifted and talented – almost fluent in Mandarin with rocket-scientist aspirations – and make sure the football squad aren’t all in the same class.”
Repeat x140 children per year.
But, as I said, for us mums, that moment when the list is released can be a little tense. My eyes rapidly scanned the names of the children– of whom son1 knows about three, and (because we all know this is important too) I know one of the mums. Not bad at all.
Happy mixing kiddos!