Well, where has the time gone? My last entry on this blog was back on December 10th, the day I left the offices of the local government establishment after my short term contract reached the conclusion. With all that free time, I fully expected to be blogging every other day!
But no, something else got in the way – what was it?
Oh yes, Christmas, New Year and a milestone birthday!
Well now, all the festivities are over life should return to normal. Shouldn’t it? That all depends on what normal was in the first place!
I could regale with tales of a Christmas spent either travelling across country or being unwell (not through over indulgence). Of a New Year spent with close friends screeching to Singstar. Or of my milestone birthday celebrations.
But no, I have decided to start the new year with the story of my trip to my old school this morning.
Was my visit to the establishment I haven’t set foot in for over 30 years for some reunion?
Small Person 1 Of 2 also reached a milestone birthday at the beginning of this year which now means she needs to select a college to attend for her further education. And one of the colleges on her list just happens to have taken over the building previously used as my senior school.
Many, many years ago, when I attended this school, it was only a school for boys. And the year I started coincided with the end of the boy’s school and the start of the college. So, as my schooling progressed through the years, there were never any boys coming into the school below me.
As my friends and I left school at the end of that final term, the end of an era was signalled.
My return this morning was to take Small Person 1 Of 2 to the college for an interview for a place at the college later this year. As she went off to the office for the interview, I was left behind in reception to wonder.
Had the school changed?
Well, apart from the obvious fact that it was now a mixed school and the pupils were older, not much else had. Sure there has been some slight building alterations, and maybe the odd lick of paint (although in some places it didn’t look like it!), but overall, nothing had altered.
Some subjects were still being taught in the classrooms they were taught in back in the 1970’s!
Now, being in a place of higher education, I was bound to feel inadequate, after all, I left school more than 30 years ago and never went onto further education. And we all know how high the exam pass rate is now.
But I was soon reassured that I could still cut it. In walked a young student who couldn’t work out where he was supposed to be. He had been to the classroom but it was empty. So the receptionist made a call to his tutor only to be told that his lesson was cancelled due to the exams taking place. In fact all lessons were suspended whilst the students took their exams.
That student was immediately followed by another who was 45 minutes late for his exam because he had banged his toe. The receptionist sent for a first aider who checked his foot to see whether he would be alright to join the exam!
In walked another prospective student who had come for their interview. Like Small Person 1 Of 2, they were in their current school uniform and were accompanied by a parent. These interviews were taking place at 30 minute intervals, so reception was hardly busy, and the receptionist had a list of all interviewees.
When we arrived, the receptionist greeted Small Person 1 Of 2 by name. Nice touch I thought. That will put them at ease, creating a friendly atmosphere.
However, when the second prospective student arrived and was greeted by name, both the parent and student were taken aback. “How do you know my name?” and “how do you know my child’s name?” were the questions with a complete blank look on the faces.
The receptionist, who by her own earlier admission to me following the late arrival of the toe stubbing victim finds it difficult to refrain from sarcasm, politely smiled, pointed to her papers and said “I have a list, and it’s not exactly busy here!”
Meanwhile, more people were passing through the reception and were failing to successfully negotiate the semi-automatic doors on their way. They stood their pushing and pulling instead of pressing the button marked “Press to open”.
Ah well, that’s further education for you! As I said earlier, everything’s back to normal! 😉