Thinking back to the days of when we were forced to stand huddled, shielding ourselves from the perilously icy winds which avidly tried to gain entry into our waddle; when we endured malicious scowls and verbal caning for not having the buttoning on our shirts quite correct; when the boys experienced harsh criticism for ties which were 2cm too short… brrrr, it makes me shiver.
It was a painful, condescending, arduous journey, but myself along with hundreds of thousands of 16 year olds around the country have finally reached the end of KS3 and 4. Most of the restraining shackles have been removed, albeit some which remain (I’ll develop that point later). On the final day of year 11, we were disciplined by uniform and packed into classes of 30 students and a teacher who relishes on giving out detentions. And after a three month break, an epic transformation seems to occurred. Our home clothes can now seek sunlight; our phones are liberated after 5 years struggling to breathe at the bottom of our school bags; and teachers seem more humane than ever before. It’s weird.
Inspiration for this post came two days ago, when I was sitting in a maths classroom during lunchtime, catching up on some work I’d missed. Rain slid down the windows and it was bleaker to look outside than in front of me at the 50 questions on equations of a circle. In mid-daydream I was abruptly interrupted by the screech emitted from the roaring mouth of a teacher.
“WHY ARE YOU UP HEEEREEEEEE??!!!!” she screamed, as I jumped and wondered whether her head had been knocked off by the swathing blow of her voice. I consequently heard a nervous scuffle, which I assume were the terrified year 7 victims of her abusive yell.
“YOU KNOW YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED UP HERRRREEEEEE!!!!” I envisaged her head rolling through the door any second.
Silence. I fell back into my half-hearted attempts to tackle the questions when I was awoken again, with the repeated shriek.
“YOU KNOW YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED UP HERRRREEEEEE!!!!”
Flashbacks flooded back to me to the days when I too had been a year 7, paralysed in fear of the teachers. I recall the virtually sleepless nights frantically worrying that Mr G would shoot me for losing my book. I recall the panicked moments when I realised I had left my PE kit in my locker. Now that would be a disaster: to go upstairs at lunchtime!! Surely not!! I recall the trembling me in PE when the terrifying Miss C would start evacuating the changing rooms when I was still half-naked.
“YOU MUST BE OUT OF THESE CHANGING ROOMS IN 10 SECONDS!!”
Hopefully you can understand and maybe even empathise with my liberated emotions upon my arrival to sixth form. Overall school now feels less like an ‘institution’ and more like a place where you want to learn.
Admittedly sixth form is far from perfect. Despite the increased freedom, it is clear that my school is like an over-controlling mother duck who can’t quite fathom letting go of her precious ducklings. In form today my drooping Monday morning eyes were greeted with a horrendous sight: a timetable with ’S’s for ‘study period’ scrawled over two thirds of my ‘free’ periods. Seriously? I thought we were being prepared us for university, not sent back to primary school…
Sixth form is better. Hands down. Feet down. Face down. Maybe I’m being unfair complaining despite the improvement since year 11. I guess I was just hoping that free periods would actually be ‘free’. I would work anyway, but feel less inclined to do so when I am being forced! I am just praying for the excessive commandeering to ease as the term progresses, just like homework does when teachers realise that they have an obligation to mark it. Fingers crossed!