I was never the sort of child who dreaded the end of the summer holidays. I don’t know why, because school was certainly never my favourite place to be. I think I regarded it as being just another thing that needed to be done, something to fill the time between breakfast and kids’ TV starting up around 4pm.
I remember that I used to get a sinking feeling around about the last Tuesday in August, because that usually signified that the vacation was coming to an end – “This is the last Tuesday of the holidays, and tomorrow will be the last Wednesday…” and so on, I remember thinking to myself. But I never used to dread the prospect of going back.
There was one occasion when I panicked, though. It was when I was 8, just about 9 and going into my second year at Telford Middle School. Odd though it may seem, this was the first time that I knew that I was not going to have the same teacher in the coming school year as I had had in the previous one. I remember standing in the hallway at home in floods of tears, saying that I didn’t want to go to school because I wouldn’t know where to go and what to do, because I didn’t know whose class I would be in.
My parents very sensibly pointed out that everyone was going to be in the same boat and that I should just go to school and see what happened. I am sure that I did not treat that suggestion with anything approaching equanimity, but I did end up going to school where, surprise surprise, they had planned for exactly the eventuality I was thinking of and simply called us into the assembly hall from the playground using our old form names. And in the hall each form was then assigned to its new teacher and classroom.
Of course, if I had known in advance that I was going to get bloody Mrs Higginbottom as my form teacher, I might never have been coaxed out of the house again.