School finally came to an end yesterday.
Wednesday was a wonderful day, much as I’d been dreading it. We took the Key Stage Two kids to Robin Hill, all 165 of them. The potential for disaster was great, but they were wonderful. Perfectly behaved and lovely company. I spent the morning at “Base Camp”, sitting in the sun and chatting with colleagues, writing a couple of postcards, drinking coffee and eating cake, while the kids occasionally went running past with a wave and an “awroight miss?”
After lunch a group of us – staff, that is – went on the Time Machine, a rather impressive simulator. It was great fun. Sadly the one member of our group who was most reluctant to go on didn’t manage to go on – I was the last person and the gates closed in front of her. This, of course, meant that we all had to go on again so that she would have a go! We sat either side of her and held her hands firmly (no, not to reassure her, but to stop her waving them in the air which was the signal to the operator to stop the ride). Then off we went on a rollercoaster ride through the middle of a volcano!
We then went on to the toboggan ride. That was brilliant fun as we went at breakneck speed down the slope. I hadn’t got a child with me as an excuse for excess use of the brake so I went full tilt, which was more exhilerating than I could have imagined. Can’t have been going that fast, mind, as Becky nearly rammed me from behind. I am beginning to tell why she can’t pass her driving test!
The kids saw a slightly different side to me when one child hurt her ankle and the icepack had to be used. No, not the caring compassionate side. Never fear! No, I managed to grab a fallen icecube and drop it down one of the helper’s backs. There then ensued an ice-cube battle… first between me and B, then a few of the kids were enlisted as support. I managed only to have the icecube down my back once…. and they never succeeded in getting it in the front of my t-shirt, though I did have to tickle a few in self defence!
It was a sharp contrast on Thursday and Friday to find myself in charge of a colleagues class. Year Eight. Leavers. Off timetable and interested in nothing. Determined not to play games or watch a video, only wanting to cause trouble. Their language was totally obscene, they were destructive and challenging. They suddenly took it into their heads to grafitti each other’s clothing. The Head was furious at them having writing all over their shirts and jumpers. I had questioned it with a senior colleague who had told me to leave them to it. But I could hardly believe my eyes when it went from signing each other’s shirts, to boys writing obscene messages on girls’ breasts and girls writing lower down on boys’ shirts, to pupils actually drawing breasts and genitalia on the clothing.These kids are twelve and thirteen. We might have giggled behind the bike sheds and talked dirty under our breath at that age, but these kids are blatent and talk of nothing else. I don’t know how the Year Eight teachers turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to it. Happily a good telling off from the Head (he sent them home to change, or made them wear shirts from lost property) and my decision to tolerate nothing (even though the other teachers were giving them free rein) seemed to do the trick to some extent.
One lad commented “This school is just like a prison”. I was very good and bit back the comment “Who says school doesn’t equip you for the life ahead?”
At last the two days came to an end, though. It was with great sorrow (honest, honest it was) that we waved them off…. having first checked their bags for eggs and water bombs, and put sentinals on duty in the car parks. And then we were freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Then off for a pleasant hour or two at the local vineyard for a meal at the Head’s expense, sitting on the terrace overlooking the vines and chatting and relaxing and getting into the holiday mood.
I LOVE the holidays!!!!! (sorry Maddie)