7th November 2019

In June 2019 I started my MA with Falmouth university as part of an accredited education programme.




Today I took my daughter for a hospital appointment. She was asked by the doctor , in a blasé way (tagged on to the conversation about something that was actually very important I will not discuss here), How do you learn? What do you do? Who teaches you? Is your mum clever? Do you have someone come in to help? What about your social circle? Do you have friends? Do you still see friends? Do you have many friends?

It went on.

A very lovely, smiley man. It was fine. I was fine with the questions. I was caught in a moment off guard, wasn’t bothered by the questions, because all is good. I am intelligent. My daughter does have friends. She learns lots of things. Whatever happened to are you happy? Do you have fun? How do you play ? What do you like to play? What are you favourite things? Whats your favourite band? Wheres your favourite place on earth to be ? Who are favourite people in the world to be with?

He spent very  nearly as much time asking her about her education as he did discussing the medical issue we went there for.

When we left she said ” I HATE THAT.” “What?” I asked …. “What does that have to do with  ********** ?” (medical reason we went) . “Nothing at all I said.” “You know, if you ever aren’t comfortable with a question like that, you can say ….. as long as you say it politely ….. I’m sorry , I really don’t  understand what that has to do with my ********* ? ” “You don’t ever have to answer something like that if you are not comfortable, or just don’t want too. It’s ok to say no. Or look to me, and I will say no for you . I am sorry. “

I failed my daughter. Not because I didn’t do maths with her today.

But because I sat in a room with her and let someone interrogate her. I apologised to her, explained I hadn’t seen her hesitation, and said I would watch more closely next time, and then gave her tools for if we ever come across that again (we will !) , or if it happens and I am not there, she knows how to deal with the situation in a way that is healthier for her.

“How do you learn?” they ask  …. like this I say.


Following on from this encounter I am going to add a section to my questionnaire I am producing for project participants asking them and their children what questions like this they have been asked, or things that have been said to them. This could lead on to a very interesting sub thread of the project.


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This blog is written as part of my studies on the Falmouth University photography ma, an accredited educational programme.