Monday, 21 June 2010

School Blues (Before We Even Get There)

I am having the school blues. Yes, yes, my school days are well and truly behind me (but I still get those sweaty HSC dreams), but there's a nightmare ahead of me. Of us.

The Doctor starts school next year.

I can barely believe it.

I always imagined myself with a baby, a toddler, a preschooler, but never a school-age child. Yikes!

I attended my first school open day of the local school. It lasted two hours. Two hours of juggling the Doctor and Tiny. Sit down. Get back up. Watch some dancers. Watch some singers. Sit down. Listen to one - two - three - no let's skip the counting, we listen to six people banging on about how great the school is. And one 6 year old playing the violin. And then another Kindy class singing about ducks. Stand up. Watch the school band. Sit down. Stand up. Go for guided tour.

I know I sound whingey. Because I am being whingey. I wanted to see the school. Not an eistedfodd. Both my children were irate by the end of it. And so was I. I wanted to go home and eat Vegemite sandwiches. Not be sandwiched into a very small room with very crusty parents.

I didn't even love the school.

So I rang the school that I have heard loads of good things about and got 'Sue'.

Sue is the 'office lady'.

I am pretty sure that Sue has also done a lot of courses in 'how to be a complete biatch'.

I began the conversation with, "We've just moved into the area, and I realise I've missed the open day, I hoped there was some chance I could come and have a look at the school."

Sue goes off the line. Comes back on the line: "Enrollments start in October."
Me: "Er, I was kind of hoping to look at the school before October."
Sue: "So you want someone to show you around."
Me: "Yes that would be awesome."
Sue: "I'll see if the Assistant Principal can call you back."

It's been three weeks and no one has called me back. However, in the interim I went and looked at a local preschool for Tiny and the ace lady who runs it happened to ask me about schools and I mentioned the conversation with 'Sue'.

She grimaced and said: "I know the Assistant Principal, she will be appalled by 'Sue', I'll call her."

Shortly after she came back to me and said: "I see what you mean about Sue." She couldn't even get past Sue.

Turns out Sue told the preschool director that the assistant principal of the school was 'too busy to waltz families around the school'. That is a direct quote from Sue the Poo.

Apparently Sue is the gatekeeper.

It's a public school.

We are out of their area. I've heard awesome things about this school. I'm working up my courage to 'waltz' myself up to the school and demand a look around.

Thoughts? Feedback? Friends, Romans, ladies of the round table - what to do about a boy named Sue? Shall I start crank calling Sue in my spare time?


Jo (sparkly green knickers) said...

No-one likes a door biatch (unless she's your friend and she gets you in for free!).

Go to the school's website and look for the AP's email address.

Kirsty said...

Ah Jo, you're on the money.

Another way - ring and ask to speak to the AP (and by name if you know it). If said 'gatekeeper' asks why, say it's private and you'd prefer to just chat to the AP. Easy, simple and then you're not getting on Sue's bad side.

Good luck

Liesl said...

Take a punt and ring at lunchtime. Sue sounds like the type to be a stickler for a lunchbreak and might have someone relieving on the the phones.

Good luck!

Megan said...

As a teacher I know that right now with the chaos of trying to get reports out on time it is a complete mad house in my school and Sue may just be trying to be helping her bosses cope - give them another try about week 2 of next term, you may get hold of an entirely different Sue. One that has had two weeks break and is not under the report printing pump. (Good luck, because I have known some major registrar and office administrator nazi's!)

Lucy said...

Just go along to the school, go see Sue the Poo in person, and ask to have a look around.

Chances are you would see a lot less cavorting and a get to see a lot more of "real school" life?

(I did this with my daughter at an out of zone school. She now attends, and it is brilliant.)

Cindy said...

I think an email or even a snail mail letter addresses to the AP directly with your contact details. I think the lunch break is a good idea too. I have been ringing around schools again too and some of the receptionists are quite rude. The AP and Principles on the other hand have all been very helpful and understanding.
Sure it will get there in the end

Danne said...

Liesl is on the money - you have to call around lunchtime or recess. But it needs to be JUST before or JUST after, because office lady/door biatches need to be on duty for whining kiddies. And there will be someone, hopefully more receptive, covering the phones at this time!

Good luck matey!

sophie said...

Sue is an idiot - one of those nazi office ladies I have to deal with at my teenager's school, they don't like kids, they don't like parents, I am not sure why they are there...You are COMPLETELY entitled to having a look at the school before you decide on enrolling, I am sure you could write to the AP or principal directly and try to bypass Sue the poo.

Bek said...

I was still in denial about Caleb starting school this time last year! So good on you for getting onto this!

Office ladies have such a rep for being grumble bums. The ones at Caleb's school were pretty ferocious gatekeepers, but now they know us have become tolerable. Friendly even.

Hope you get your tour!

rachelmp said...

Call at lunchtime - usually about 1.10 and hope that someone else picks up the phone. Otherwise go at end of the day when the kids and parents are all around the office and its madness, and speak very loudly about the lady who would not help you to see the principal...

Toni Brockliss said...

Bloody Sue.
I reckon you should wear your red lippy and your highest heels and walk into the school. Tower over Sue and ask for a tour. Like one of those Real Housewives from the OC.
People are generally nicer in person. They use a phone to hide behind and be mean.

Anonymous said...

It is the assistant principals job to waltz families around the school. Perhaps the office lady says a lot about the school, if admin don't know she behaves like this then they are not doing their job and if they approve of this approach.... then enough said.

PS my word verification was 'scryou' just a random computer generated coincidence I hope.

lovely lindsay said...

This very thing has me all worked up - and I've still got a year to sit with the thought before he heads to real school. I'm so worried about where to send him and how to go about doing it all. Sending the first born off into the world- freaks. me. out.
Good luck! Love, Lindsay

Linda said...


I am a primary school teacher, and I swear to god those 'sell-our-school-to-you-poor-first-time-prep-parents' sessions are designed to bore you into submission.

That being said, Sue sounds like a cow. And if she's behaved like that to you, then you'll be able to pretty safely say that she's done it before you, and she'll do it again after you. You must make a complaint.

I can give you the direct email address of the Principal or the AP so you can write a formal letter of complaint directly to them. If they do nothing about it, then I sure as heck wouldn't be sending my child there anyhow.

My email address is imjustlindablog {AT}

Good luck!

Corrie said...

oh sorry but your description of sue is hilarious!!!!

we have our own school dramas going on here with our local catholic school acting like its ascham with their interview process and I probably would have had a more enjoyable interview at a top school! I feel your pain, its been all consuming over here and my husband is well and truly over my constant talking about it!

good luck,