I’m really old nowadays. I started year 7 in 2002, and left school in 2009. It feels like an age ago, but I thought I’d share a little tongue-in-cheek list of some of the things that school taught me (aside from the obvious stuff):
There’s always one kid that’s a pathological liar. My favourite lie came from a friend who dropped a clanger on us while we were eating our packed lunches in year 8. She suddenly piped up in the middle of a conversation about guinea pigs (our favourite topic at the time…): ‘My mum was going to be the first woman in space, but she decided to stay in Derbyshire and have a family with my Dad instead.’ Okay then, love. If you say so… I nearly choked on my Frube.
There’s always a naughty child that likes to lick and suck rulers. No? Was that just my school?
The only girls that were popular with the boys were the ones who resembled Page 3 ‘stunners’. Everyone else was repulsive, and the boys’ opinions mattered more than anything else on the planet to our fragile, teenage egos.
There was no escaping that I was a square. List of things that make you a square? Wanting to go to school, sitting on the front row in lessons, never getting detentions, actually listening to the teacher and doing work, not acting up, not being ‘on report’, not throwing chairs, not talking and screaming during lessons, not licking rulers, not drawing pictures of McDonald’s fries on whiteboards in permanent marker, and not breaking classroom windows. (All of these things happened courtesy of my classmates. Nightmare.)
If you wore black, you were a ‘dirty greb’. Which also meant that you deserved a whole heap of abuse from the ‘chavs’ of our year. (I should probably explain that my school had no uniform, and we called teachers by their first names too.) It made subcultures like emos and goths a lot more obvious within school; especially to the bullies.
Teachers know everything. It’s only after leaving school, and having several friends who’ve gone on to become teachers, that I’ve realised that they’re not the omniscient beings I once thought they were. They’re just human like the rest of us.
There’s always a rumour circulating about two teachers having an affair in a store cupboard. In hindsight, it’s probably not true, though, is it?
There’s always a teacher with a reputation for being a letch. For us, it was our GCSE science teacher. Some of the naughty kids locked him in a cupboard once, my friend and I got him out (because see point four, about being a square) and he repaid us by staring incessantly at our boobs; just like he always did. Yuck.
The teacher that’s a maverick is always the best one. Mine was my drama teacher. He taught my Dad, my Uncle, and then me. He retired the year I left, and he’s honestly the best teacher I ever had. (He once had a meltdown when I was in year 8 and threw a chair across the school hall to teach us something about acting…)
Teachers will have their favourites. And they probably won’t be you. (Even if you are a MASSIVE square.)
By year 9, PE changing rooms will reek of various Impulse body sprays mingling together. There seems to be a currency among teenage girls that involved having to lend every other girl in the changing room your Impulse because they’d ‘forgotten’ theirs and you didn’t want to tolerate their netball-induced BO during your upcoming RE lesson. It was usually me that was coaxed into sharing my Tease around. (When I got into sixth form, I upgraded to Fantasy by Britney Spears. Classy.)
Yearbooks seem like a good idea at the time. Until you get ten years down the line and realise you’ve ALL failed at life. (And just how stupid and naive you were at 15/16…)
There’s always at least one ‘horsey’ girl in your class. For us, it was my (then) best friend and I, who were greeted at registration by a chorus of everyone singing the theme tune to ‘My Little Pony’ every. single. morning. (I mean, it’s not like we wore jodhpurs to school or anything…)
The teachers you’re told are the ‘scariest’ are usually the loveliest ones. Our tutor was a big fella, he was bald, and looked like the missing Mitchell Brother, we were told to be scared of him; but he ended up being the softest, most laid-back teacher we’d ever encountered. (He even made up an anthem and accompanying dance for our class at sports days to the tune of The Fast Food Song by the Fast Food Rockers. We were all less enthusiastic about it than him, though.)
There’s a hierarchy with PE kit bags. Jane Norman bag? Queen. JD Sports? Not great, but you’ll scrape through. Tesco carrier bag? Get in the sea, you geek. (Guess which one I normally had…)
School trips are always eventful. They normally involve one queasy-looking kid throwing up into an empty packet of Skips, while a naughty kid sticks two fingers up at passing lorry drivers, all while the teacher has the map upside down and gets everyone lost, with one kid somehow getting mislaid somewhere in Paris; meanwhile the rest haven’t even noticed because they were busy playing Snake on their Nokia 3310s. (True story.)
Squares do not thrive in competitive sports activities. Whether that involves being screamed at by angry ‘popular’ kids for missing the ball in hockey, instead scraping some grit up, or having no rhythm in dance classes, or falling over during the sack race, or even being too slow during the relay on sports days; squares are not built for sports, they are far more at home in the library instead. #booksnotballs
The bullies peak too soon. It might seem like the bullies are having their day at school, and that’s because they are. When you leave, you realise that they’ve got little to fall back on because they concentrated less on their education, and more on licking rulers and smashing windows.
Fire alarms might seem fun. Until you realise you’ve got to spend the next 45 minutes shivering on a tennis court with nothing to entertain you but watching the bullies lick the rulers they’ve sneaked out.
When the teacher wheels the TV trolley in, it’s THE BEST. Getting to watch videos (or DVDs if you’re not as old and decrepit as me) for the next hour instead of working? HELL YES. (Even the squares love swapping the books for TV every now and again.)
The musical kids end up the coolest by year 11. Boys in bands? HOW COOL IS THAT? Extra points for nerdy cello kids who go on to be guitarists in local rock bands.
The drama kids are never cool. Trust me, I was one of them…
Everybody loves a supply teacher. Even the geeks. You’ve got the perfect opportunity to pull the wool over their eyes and get away with doing less work… Who wouldn’t love that?
Obviously, it’s clear that I don’t have any unresolved issues after school, isn’t it?
What would you add to the list?