Parenting at Parent’s Evening

Advice for Toby...

So I had Toby’s parents evening tonight (year 8). His report that I received yesterday showed a much improved effort all round.

Previously, Toby had told me that he hated German with a passion, He only like Physics out of the Sciences, which means that he only puts efforts into the subjects that he likes.

I remember having the same conversation with my Dad. ‘Why do you get 100% in English, but only 21% in Physics. ‘Because I like English and I don’t like Physics’. ‘Well you have to put in effort into every subject’. ‘Why?’

I am now giving the same advice to Toby, on the basis that after speaking to the teachers tonight, it made me realise that when it comes to take his options for GCSE’s, he will have choices. Just because he doesn’t like the subjects now, doesn’t mean that he won’t like them in a years time, when he decides his options. This means he can’t fall behind in anything incase he changes his mind.

He wants to do Science, Maths etc. His German teacher very sensibly pointed out that a lot of engineering jobs are with German companies. This made me think so differently about where he puts effort in.

I think it’s important to play to our strengths, and as a big fan of Marcus Buckingham, I understand that these are things that we like, not necessarily what we are good at. Because if we like something, we put more effort in.

Toby has agreed to put more effort into the subjects that he has previously dismissed, as he needs to do the best he can do in all subjects, so if he changes his mind (which is entirely possible with a 12 year old boy who can’t even decide what he wants for his tea!), he still has all options available to him.


  • Everyone needs to play to their strengths
  • Strengths are something that you like, not necessarily what you are good at
  • Keep an open mind
  • Encourage people to work hard at areas they may not like initially
  • Listen to the teachers, they know what they are talking about
  • Think further ahead than the immediate future

If you want any advice on Strengths, Motivation or Performance Management, please fill in the form below.