Examiety - a temporary state of worry and nervousness occurring among parents and children age 5 and above, usually twice a year during the periods of November/December and May/June. Usually accompanied by feelings of apprehension, anxiety and panic. For parents it includes shouting questions about topics taught at school at random moments in order to quiz progeny, resulting in further stress, confusion and frustration.
Now that HRH is in Grade 1 and it is that time of year, I have finally experienced what I had observed and not entirely understood in other parents earlier. This year, HRH will be taking ‘exams’ for the first time in English, Urdu, Maths and Science. Last year he had end of year ‘assessments’ which still sounded less horror-inducing than ‘exams’.
In school HRH has been revising for the past month, he has also been told constantly that exams are a big deal. To such an extent that he would start feeling worried and start asking me to teach him something or the other that he was not sure about and which ‘might come in my exams!’ Since this is hardly healthy behavior, we have all been telling him at home that exams are not a big deal and not to worry about it. Thankfully some of this has started to sink in.
While HRH and I may not be suffering from examiety as badly as some others, there are still plenty of mothers in school who are overly concerned about how their offspring are progressing in comparison to others.
“Does HRH know how to spell the months of the year?” (Purpose of question - Trying to figure out where own child stands and whether it's okay to not know how to spell the months of the year)
“How many hours do you make HRH revise in a day?” (Purpose of question – To determine whether child will have to spend more time revising)
“Can he figure out the Math word problems or is he confused about those like my child?” (Purpose of question - Seeking reassurance)
Such queries further fuel feelings of insecurity and examiety among all concerned. I personally think there should be a gag order put in place during exam season. No parents should be allowed to speak to each other about exams, revision or how much a child does or does not know. Unfortunately these insecurities are then transferred to the child, who at age 5 or 6 is pretty confused already about what the big deal is. Now during meal times, children are asked mid-chew, to spell 'September', or are asked 'What is a 6 sided shape called?' while rubbing soap out of their eyes during bath-time, or are told to come over during their run around in the park and ambushed with 'What is 19 minus 7?'
While I may not be that bad (really I'm not), I do feel bad for these little kids who had better get used to all this. After all there is a long way to go for them. As for me, I feel like I'm going to school all over again, but without any of the fun.