I can’t work; I don’t have a pencil.


Alex and Char school pic
We were not too fortunate with our genes…

I have been writing this blog on and off for quite a while now and I realised I have never put it to its full potential. I have never used it to publicly humiliate my little brother. I can’t believe I never thought of this before but I suppose this might stem from the fact that I like to pretend Alex is adopted. Alex, if you are reading this: You are adopted. The reason I was thinking about my brother earlier was because it has recently been his birthday and I am still waiting to buy the perfect present for him. I have also found a perfect way to avoid work alongside marathoning Supernatural: starting to pack really early and using it as an excuse to look at all my stuff to see if I need anything this term I didn’t have last term. In my searching of my various belongings, I have come across my box of hundreds of pictures from my  life and a pile of old school reports (both mine and Alex’s). Just reading through them has had me in hysterics on and off for the last hour or so.

My brother and I have always had somewhat different school reports. My brother has not always got on with education in the way I did, well, still do. We have a very different outlook on things and I don’t think education ever really featured in Alex’s grand plan. Not that I have any idea what my brother’s grand plan is, or if he even has one. There are a few things though which are strangely similar in our reports from our younger years. Obviously, my reports were a few years before Alex’s but there are still some similarities. We both had a real groundbreaking use of clip-art in some reports. I remember feeling so cool because I had been able to use images and the amazing word art. Reading through the reports, I am actually slightly surprised by some of the things that were said about me. Honestly, looking at the things about my brother… No surprises really. It does make me think about the similarities between us. I like to pretend Alex is adopted so I can pretend we aren’t related but unfortunately, there are enough things about us that are the same that I can’t really fake it well enough.

I haven’t really noticed it before but seeing things in writing does make you think about things. I am constantly being told off at home for rushing things. I do things wrong because little trivial tasks are rushed to get them out of the way. Apparently, my brother in reception was doing the same thing.

“Sometimes he makes unrealistic guesses at words and tends to rush.”

While Alex is not the most academically inclined, we do both apparently share the same inquisitive nature into things. In school, I always wanted to be the best at everything. I still do to some extent but I have accepted that it won’t always be the case. Alex is enthusiastic and inquisitive in a very selective way. If he isn’t interested in something, you will know it.

I was so planning on making this just a funny post but I am waffling so now, I will just throw in one of the paragraphs which made me snigger… Probably inappropriately.

“Alexander joins in all P.E. activities enthusiastically. He is confident on the large apparatus but sometimes needs to consider safety rules. His balls skills are fairly good and he is able to control the equipment but again is not always aware of the need for safety.”

Woah woah woah.. Hold up… Go back there… His balls skills? Yeah. I don’t want to know. I keep reading the word enthusiastic (it features regularly alongside lively in Alex’s reports) and seeing it as a bad thing. “He is… Enthusiastic.” With regards to the lack of safety, I am not imagining my brother in his younger years pushing some poor unsuspecting classmate off the apparatus and standing atop it like the conqueror of the world. Well, he does have Ash power.

The first report is a bit up and down for Alex. He has a kind and caring nature apparently… But still has a tendency to hurt others. Okay teachers.. Is he kind? Or a little thug? Can’t be both.

Let’s move on to year two of the reports. At least Alex can relate well to other children and adults. One point in his favour I suppose. According to his report though, he doesn’t understand what makes a friend, can’t discuss feelings and can’t concentrate. Tut tut Alex. Letting the family down. Joking, joking. You’re adopted.

Well… Neither of us can dance according to reports. Alex can dance now though. If you count flailing around in a rather hilarious manor alongside someone else as dancing. He is still one up on me though. I am too co-ordinationally challenged to even attempt to dance.

Alex report
Alex is missing a pencil.

And now, we move onto possibly the best thing I have ever read. This is not me making up what was written. I don’t think anybody but my brother could come up with something so ridiculous.

“I take a long time to settle to a task because I never have a pencil.”

This is probably nowhere near as amusing to anyone else but every time I read these reports and stumble across that, I end up crying with laughter. I am not really sure why but it is just so funny. Do you think that excuse will work at university? Sorry, I couldn’t do my seminar prep because I don’t have a pencil. Even when I am not with my brother, he amuses the hell out of me. I don’t think I know anybody who amuses me more. While he is a pain in the backside, he is a very funny pain.

While I am at it, let’s just put it out there. Remove any man points my brother may have acquired over the years. Alex… Was in the choir in year 5. I don’t remember this. Maybe I just stopped paying attention to him then.

I promise I am almost done talking about my brother. I realise this is a long post and will probably be the longest I have ever written because the reports just amuse me too  much not to write about them. Alex, if you are reading this, I have a message from your year 6 teacher:

“True friends don’t hurt each other.”

Year 6 teacher. Telling it like it is. Those are real words of wisdom right there. There are lots of ‘not sufficient’ things on my brother’s report. I think I would have cried if I got one on my reports. I was too much of a crybaby nerd when I was younger. Maybe being so involved in my education was not such a good thing, but it was one of the few things that made me happy because for the most part it was a safe place. School was a way of being out of the house and while I was bullied, I by no means had it awful in school. Girls made harsh comments but that is just the way things are. I only really got picked on properly in year 7. Talking about year 7… In Alex’s first year at Blatchington Mill School, he managed to get 8 detentions. I think I got 1… Throughout my whole time at Blatch.

Something to support what I said earlier about my brother being selective in his efforts:

“Alex can perform well but is selective in his effort.”

That is all one teacher put for the whole year for my brother. I think his teacher just gave up. I would. I won’t go on about my brother. With throwing all this out there for people to see about him, it only seems fair that I do the same about my own reports. For the most part, my reports were boring and I remember my dad saying that he wasn’t going to my parents evening one year because they were boring because my teachers never said anything bad about me. Would he have preferred I misbehave so they had something bad to say?

On to my school reports now I think. I will try to make this shorter but with how long the post is, I think people will have stopped reading now anyway. In year 3, my report was not stellar, I won’t lie. I think it was secondary school when my reports really started to improve. I think there was a year where I just matured and really started to apply myself in school. Since I said that Alex was easily distracted, I now point you to the comments from my English teacher of year 3:

“Charlotte has produced some excellent work in literacy and can work hard. She is very easily distracted however and often is not working to her full potential. Charlotte takes part in class discussions but spends an awful lot of time daydreaming or talking to others when she should be listening, sharing ideas and thoughts. However, once confident with what she has to do, she attempts the task eagerly. Charlotte’s story writing is imaginative, clear and interesting to read. She has a wide vocabulary and she uses it to good effect. […] Unfortunately, there is usually not enough work completed in the given time as Charlotte finds it so hard to concentrate.”

I would so love to be able to say that is no longer true, but it appears I have not changed that much in some ways since year 3. I still find myself daydreaming some of the time, sometimes to the extent that I can’t remember most of the journey to my final location if I am walking. I am still ridiculously easily distracted as well but now it is normally by the internet or my iPod rather than a glue stick or some glitter.

I don’t mean to show off here but, in year 3… I could load word… On my own. Try to contain how impressed you are. I read that and now it doesn’t seem like a big deal but at the time, there weren’t that many other things on the computer. It says I enjoyed sending and receiving emails. Who the heck was I emailing at that age? I don’t honestly have any idea. I also think I typed with one finger then instead of the ninja typist I am now. I like to freak Hanna out by staring at her when I type like some kind of crazed psycho killer. Oh. In year 3, my ability to throw and catch a ball improved over the year. Unfortunately, it has all been downhill from there.

I have never heard of planning to make a sandwich but apparently in year 3, that is exactly what I did. I did not realise that making a sandwich was a precision task that required some thought beforehand. This is what year 3 design technology had to say about me:

“Charlotte enjoyed planning and making a sandwich to meet a given criteria. She worked well in a group and used equipment safely and carefully. When exploring a range of breads and spreads, Charlotte made some good evaluative comments.”

How can you evaluate a sandwich? Oh god. And not only did this sandwich require planning, it also involved a group effort. That must have been one hell of a sandwich. What equipment could possibly pose a danger when making a sandwich? Well, if I am thinking about it as a danger to me, possibly any item of equipment. I have injured myself with a cheese grater on a number of occasions. I did not always master the art of wording things well when I was younger.

“I have achieved a Parker pen.”

I know exactly what I meant to say still, but I doubt anybody else, with the exception of possibly other children from Goldstone, will know what I meant to say. One thing my brother and I do have in common in the comments we made on our own reports was that our least favourite subject was R.E. I don’t have any issue with the subject. I actually enjoy learning about other religions, but it never presented the sort of challenge I liked. I might enjoy learning about other religions, but I prefer learning it from someone of that religion, rather than from the pages of a book. I like the idea, but never really enjoyed the lessons.

My brother is not the only one who struggled with interrupting when he was younger but I was quicker to grow out of it. One thing I have never grown out of is preferring to work alone. In year 4, I needed to work on my ability to work with my peers. I still don’t like people that much though. I pick on my brother for distracting people in class but when I was younger, one report suggests I was just as bad. But apparently I was funny like Alex. Obviously humour runs in the Ash siblings.

“Charlotte has got a great sense of humour and enjoys sharing a joke with children and adults alike. […]Charlotte regularly makes a positive contribution to classroom discussions but can often be too keen to share her ideas and shouts out before putting her hand up. She has produced some excellent work that she can be proud of but on occasion can distract others by chatting and being silly during group work. […] She seems to prefer to work on an individual basis rather than in group situations and needs to try and develop her ability to work alongside her peers.”

I am not really sure why, but in at least 3 reports, I put that I wanted to improve my running skills. My running skills? What skills? I clearly have failed on that part every year. I pretty much refuse to run now. It is uncomfortably jiggly when I do.

Year 5… The year I matured.. Maybe. I still didn’t really like working in groups though. Alex is far more of a social creature than I am. I was still shouting out though. I think if you asked people from my seminar group this year, they would probably say I am too keen to share my ideas still. We don’t have to put our hands up so I can’t be told off for shouting out.

I have read some of the most cringe-worthy things in my reports. I guess I should be glad that I was apparently nice to teach but reading some of them, I am like: I must have been such a little brown nose.

“Charlotte is without a doubt one of the most enthusiastic, positive and energetic people I have ever met! She is the very essence of the childish enthusiasm that makes primary school teaching so rewarding.” -Year 6

“Charlotte is an absolute pleasure to teach. Her natural enthusiasm would warm any teachers heart…” -And this was in a subject I really have never been fond of. This really was a bit of brown-nosing though.

I am not really sure what I have achieved by writing all this but reading it all amused me more than just a little. Honestly, I think my brother’s report is one of the funniest things I have ever read and the worrying thing is, I can totally see him using an excuse like the pencil one to try to get out of work.

Alex, if you are reading this (which I highly doubt you are as I am not sure you know how to read), you weren’t that bad in school. All your teachers were trying to say is that you are a little sh.. ining star… That is totally it. And Alex… I will get you a pencil for Christmas next year if you like.

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5 thoughts on “I can’t work; I don’t have a pencil.

  1. Brilliant, Charlotte! “… His balls skills are fairly good and he is able to control the equipment but again is not always aware of the need for safety.” This post is so funny on so many levels, in so many places. Nicely done 😉

    1. Thank you! I am glad you like it. I do try to write in a way that amuses people. Reading the reports was one of the funniest things. I do wonder if teachers read through what they have written or if they are so sick of writing that they just don’t care.

      1. You’re welcome 🙂 I have a note I found on the field after one of my son’s soccer games a few years ago. It must’ve blown out of someone’s car or something. Anyway, it reads: “Coach’s meeting Saturday, 4 p.m. Also, if anyone is still holding onto my balls, please contact me as soon as possible and let me know.” A good lesson in proof reading…

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