Sunday, December 19, 2004

Back In MY Day

Good evening all and sundry, I'm Rob, another of the guest bloggers that Mr Teacher has left to take care of his blog whilst he's off sunning himself in some remote corner of the world. I blog at Honestly, I'm Sober, and have done so for nearly two years.

I'm an English university student, but at the moment am studying in Germany for a year. Well, I should be studying, but it's more of a holiday at the moment, what with my ineptitude in going to lectures. But that is not what I intend to write about here, because it'll just be like reading my blog!

Based on the fact that Mr Teacher is a, erm, teacher, I am going to use my posts here to reminisce about my school days. They weren't all that long ago, and I can still remember most events with a certain clarity. Hopefully the stories will be entertaining, and will give any older readers an insight into secondary education at the turn of the millennium.

I'll just explain a little about my school before I get into any stories. I went to a bog-standard comprehensive school in a relatively small rural town in England. The total number of pupils there, including the Sixth Form, was somewhere around 1500. Not a huge number, but not small either. It was the kind of school where you knew who everybody was in your year, but weren't necessarily friends with them.

It wasn't a bad school, and I did alright by it, but it had its share of characters and seedy areas. Just like every school on the planet, the toilets stank of smoke, and the 'cool' kids knew just where to stand outside so that they could smoke without being caught.

It was the kind of school where you could put out a call for some weed at the start of morning break and have some by the end of break fifteen minutes later, but there was a sufficiently large supply and demand of harder drugs for you to be able to get hold of some by the end of the day if you asked at the start. Not that I did, you understand, I don't touch any of that stuff, but I knew about it.

Now that I've set the scene, I'll just tell a little story about the type of tomfoolery and madness that we used to get up to.

In Year 9 (3rd year), my tutor group was moved to a new room for our registrations each day. It was in the music block (if you can call it a block, with a grand total of two rooms), and was usually occupied by a teacher that we loved to hate. We'd been taught by her for a couple of years in Music, and there was a general dislike for her. We'll call her Mrs N.

Mrs N was a bit of a battleaxe of a teacher, and used to have a go at us every single day, usually for no reason whatsoever. OK, well that's a bit of a lie, because we'd usually be doing something which merited a moan, but some of the time she complained non-stop.

Her favourite topic was to complain at the slightest bit of mess left in her room after we'd had lunch in there. We were kind of not supposed to eat our lunches in classrooms, but a blind eye was always turned by every member of staff. I guess that teachers have better things to do with their lunchtimes than worry about us.

Eventually, we got fed up with being moaned at, and decided to play a few pranks on Mrs N. Specifically, smelly pranks.

There was a skylight in the room, you see, set back a little from the rest of the ceiling. It was about a yard square, and was about 2 feet higher than the surrounding ceiling. If you stood on a table and jumped, you could just about get your head into the cube-shaped gap. It was basically inaccessible, and served its purpose in letting light into the room.

What made this skylight particularly interesting is that it had a small ledge around it, right under the window. Owing to the distance from the floor, it was impossible to see onto the ledge, and very difficult to reach it full stop. I've no idea how far back it went in each direction, but I'm guessing somewhere around 6 inches.

Between us, we came up with the idea of shoving as much food as possible onto this ledge and leaving it there for as long as it took to be found. Dairy products were the obvious choice, but we shoved just about anything we could get our hands on up there.

It was like the classic milk-carton-behind-the-boiler trick, but only more devious and dastardly in its execution, since there was absolutely no way of getting these foodstuffs back out of the ledge / crevice. The sun streamed in through the skylight all year round, concentrating the heat up there, which aided the decomposing process no end.

I don't know how much stuff we managed to get up there, but it stank. You could put your head up into the skylight area because it smelt so bad, and the smell was beginning to seep down into the room itself when we were moved into another room.

I dropped music at the end of that year, and never returned to that room again, but I've heard that the room smelt pretty damn bad a year or so later. Mrs N was still teaching there, so at least we managed to hit our target.

For all that I know, the food is still up there, and the room stinks something chronic. Bearing in mind the fact that we put the food up there in 1998, it would have peaked for smelliness sometime around 2000. That's a good long-term prank.

So yes, this is what we did at school when we were bored. And they say that kids these days get bored easily...