I remember very little about my first day (or year) at school. In fact, all I remember was that it was 1984, Madonna was riding high in the charts, and at some point my mother had a questionable bubble perm. They also had real lipstick in the wendy house, and one day I put it on. That was probably the highlight of the whole year to be honest, that lipstick.
Today, it was Piglet’s turn to start school, and although the uniform regulations now seem a little stricter than in Ye Olden Days (I doubt that lipstick would be allowed in, for a start), I imagine the set up is fairly similar.
As a teacher, I find my thoughts regularly turn to how Piglet will be in school. Will he be well-behaved? Well-liked? The chatty one or the quiet one? The one whose parents are in every week wringing their hands and admitting he’s out of control?
There are, of course, some clues already as to the kind of schoolboy he will make. Yesterday he locked my mother out of her own house, ignoring her pleas to be let in until a passing painter and decorator had to break in through an upstairs window; then when back at home with me that evening, he escaped out of the front door while I was cooking, ran across the road and told a neighbour he’s allowed out on his own now he’s four. I’m calling it an “independent spirit.” Let’s hope it translates to “thinking outside the box” rather than “getting sent to the pupil referral unit.”
So far, though, school itself seems to have passed without incident. Piglet is unwilling to share the details of the day, merely saying that he did “nothing” or “can’t remember,” so by my reckoning he is already into the habits of the teenage years. It has only been two days, so early days yet, and I spent his first day at school gazing out of a window craning my neck to see him walk in, various sixth form students on high alert watching out to see him walk past, only to realise I had missed his grand entrance. Ah, the perils of working next door to the school, but still being at work at all life’s crucial moments. At least it meant that unlike some of the other parents I spotted from my window-perch standing at the school gate, I couldn’t cry. It would have looked a bit weird in the middle of a Year 12 lesson, as though I was suddenly so moved by Aristotle’s Four Causes that I could no longer contain my emotion. Guys, guys! I’ve found the meaning of life! It’s (sob!) EUDAIMONIA! I imagine that was exactly how it was for Aristotle.
So to cut a short story even shorter, September is finally here (“is it September?” was Piglet’s puzzled enquiry when he found out he was finally actually going to the fabled School I had been talking about for months), the obligatory child in front of a door shot has been taken, and Piglet is now a schoolboy. I’ll let you know how it goes.