First day at school
That doesn’t quite fit
The smell of mum
replaced by the smell of floor polish
food you don’t like
things you can’t do
doing something wrong
being told off
being laughed at
Still, what’s the worst that can happen?
You might die horribly
in the crush to get to the toilets
Or be maimed for life
under the vaulting horse
Or have your ears flicked in assembly
by the naughty boy in the row behind
Or be embarrassed by that girl
from next door but one
Or wee under your desk
But hardly any of these happen.
Particularly the death one.
And you learn to cope with some of the others.
That’s what I learned at school.
(Written for New Beginnings, a Roundabout poetry event at Worthing Library, 28 January 2011)
First piece written for the Revival Media podcast – October 08. I’ll post an mp3 once it’s available ….
School days, they say, are the best days of your life.
Which isn’t a cheering thought when the dog’s eaten your homework, the school bully has discovered your middle name is Sebastopol and you’ve just encountered quadratic equations.
And anyway, what do THEY know? THEY might have gone to fantastic schools and then embarked on a career as a traffic warden, or a ballpoint pen tester, or a call centre operative flogging acrylic sweater debobblers. In which case, school might well have been the best it got.
But some of us have found the education system a bit of mixed bag – some fantastic teachers, others with the inspirational qualities of a cold bowl of mushroom soup. Brilliant memories of larking around with your friends, discovering the wonders of the world you’re growing up in and seeing if it really is possible to eat three cream crackers without a drink of water.
Then again there were always those scary incidents where you couldn’t see your essay because of the amount of red pen on it, the exam papers where you reached the end with a sigh of relief only to discover two more questions on the back and 30 seconds to answer them in, and those occasions when the facts you thought you’d learned had simply gone on a brief tour of your brain before discovering an exit somewhere and escaping to freedom.
The good thing is that however rubbish or brilliant your school days were, you actually never stop learning. In such an amazing world, there’s always something new to discover … even if it’s the 101 different ways it’s possible to lose your TV remote …