Sandpits and shoelaces

I remember being very new to school, in a big new classroom with a smiling new teacher, and lots of other little people like me. I was 4 and a half, and starting to make my way in the world. I remember quite  few things from this age, I remember playing with the water-wheel in the big tub of water outside. I remember digging in the sandpit, wearing sandals. I remember learning to tie my shoelaces using a big card, threaded with orange string. I also remember the feeling of claustrophobia when I crawled into a big plastic barrell (some of our play-things back in the early 80’s) and I couldn’t get out because two other kids crawled in from each end, and I panicked. I remember hair-pulling and name-calling that happened to other people in the playground. I remember making daisy-chains in the sun and sneezing when the grass got cut.

It was a generally nice place to be, if a little bit overwhelming at times. But there was structure and order and behaving yourself and playing nicely with other people – and I liked it.   

26 years later, I’ve come back to that place. The behaviours aren’t much different, but the ages of the other kids are. My week has been like being at school again because:

One man got told off for being nasty about someone else and doing an impression of him that made out he was some kind of monkey.

One lady got told off for locking her children in the car in the carpark.

One lady got told off for whingeing and whining because she had a tantrum and didn’t get her own way.

One man got sent home because he was showing people rude pictures.

One lady got told off because she wasn’t doing her work properly, and then she cried and cried so much she had to go home. Now she’s pretending that she’s not well, so she won’t come back to school work.

One lady is pretending to be mad so she doesn’t have to come to school, but we know she’s not really mad. She’s just stuck two pencils up her nose and is wearing her knickers on her head. We’ve asked her to come back to school, but she keeps saying no. We’re going to give her place to someone else soon, and then she’ll never be able to come back.

One lady wants to stay in school even though she isn’t allowed to. We’re sending her home, but she keeps crying.

Kids seem like a doddle compared to this lot. Anyone want to swap their job for mine? 


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