For the Love of School
I loved school, the recesses and lunchtimes!
With the school year finishing for many of our kids, I’ve been thinking about what it was like during my own school days.
We moved houses when I was in Year 5 and I changed schools too. My new teacher was a very strict male, who was also in charge of the discipline at school. He would often give the cane as punishment to any unruly students. And I also remember the side of the ruler being used on the knuckles of any kids who didn’t comply.
There was one time when I needed my mum’s signature on some homework and she wouldn’t sign it for some reason. Not wanting to get into trouble at school, naturally I forged her signature. Mum later felt sorry for me and came to school to sign the work and then found my forgery - the side of the ruler may have been a better outcome!
I remember thinking on the first day with my friends, how boring the place was and how we were stuck here for the next five years. In the blink of an eye we were in our final year. But before that, we’d sit on the grassed areas and chat during breaks - it was the sophisticated thing to do. We’d bring our treasured ‘Smash Hits’ magazines to school and drool over the pages of our teen idols, which helped too.
I now have many friends who are teachers and acknowledge their valuable work. And I was fortunate to have had many wonderful teachers of my own. However, we all know teachers that made us feel inadequate at the most crucially embarrassing and pimply time of our lives.
Remember the ones who would walk around the class and stand in front or behind your desk watching you work, nervously? Or the ones that would make you get up and write the answer on the board in front of the class, only to humiliate you if you didn’t know it. And how about when they’d choose you to answer a question even though you never raised your hand in the first place?
School friends see you at your worst, best and geekiest. I’m lucky to still be in touch with so many of mine and treasure that link from which school connected us so many years ago.
Always being a fairly average student, I was never an academic kid, nor was I sporty and was never caught up with trying to be in the popular group. I was just happy being with my friends and we had a great time both in and out of school. If they weren’t in my classes, knowing that I’d be seeing my friends at recess/lunch, or walking to the train after school with them, helped me get through the day, whilst easing the drudgery of the subjects we were studying.
To this day I gauge things by comparison of a maths exam – my anathema. My thinking is, does the current situation I may find myself in, appear worse than sitting a maths exam or not? Very few times the maths exam has won out.
Physical Education lessons - I understand the rationale and importance of them, but when will they understand, that not all kids are into competitive sport, especially adolescents? This doesn’t come naturally to everyone and pushy Phys-ed teachers didn’t help. I did have my revenge though. Fast forward to part of my working life, when one of our school’s Phys-ed teachers came in to my office to arrange to pay off an account, let’s just say the payment terms were not so flexible!
In an effort to fundraise, our school participated in an annual walkathon. Students were asked to raise money for the kilometres walked. My brother was working at a bank at the time and many of his colleagues were kind enough to sponsor me. I remember proudly telling friends that I had raised $150 (a mammoth amount back then). However, another boy in my year group caught wind of it and managed to raise just slightly more and he took all the glory at the school assembly.
Whether swinging on chairs whilst chatting in the back of Maths class, the fun of school camps, or just seeing your friends every day - I loved school. I was fortunate to have been sent to school’s that had great community spirit. With discipline, structure, plenty of good times and fun to be had, I also did learn a thing or two on the way.