I did a similar post to this one back in September, which you can read here, where I talked about a few events in the school year and how they are different now that I am a teacher, compared to when I was in school myself. But I wasn’t quite done, here are a couple more reflections on how things have changed now that I am on the other side…
As a student: When I was a student myself, these days were known as ‘mufti’ days. It would be announced a week or so in advance and the following week would be spent trying on outfits, desperate to find the perfect outfit to wear to show off my personality and style. I would discuss with my friends, as well as my sister, what we were planning on wearing to school. Sometimes it may even have been deserving of a trip into town the weekend before, in order to buy a new outfit worthy of being displayed at school. Mufti days were kind of a big deal.
As a teacher: I accidentally called the school non-uniform day a ‘mufti day’ recently to some students, resulting in their reactions of “A WHAT? What the HELL is a mufti day? Oh my god.” So I guess one difference is the boring name. Unfortunately, as a teacher, we are not allowed to join in with the joy of wearing casual clothes and we still have to stick to the professional dress code. One exception to this was the Christmas Jumper Day as this is an annual event for charity, so we were allowed to take part and wear a jumper with our normal professional work clothes. As I did in school, I decided to go into town the weekend before to treat myself to a new Christmas jumper for the occasion. I opted for a white fluffy one with Rudolph on and a big red pom-pom for his nose; I thought it was cute. My students did not. At least when I was younger if other students did not like my outfit they would never have told me, the students I teach now do not have the same tact. I believe one of the comments was “It’s a bit gay.”, which of course led to an explanation of why they shouldn’t use the word gay in that way.
As a student: Only THE major event of the school year. Ok at least it was in primary school, by secondary school it was already a bit lame and was just lots of awkward groups of teenagers. But in primary school, well there was no greater event. I remember the excitement of being dropped off in the evening, clutching a 50p in hand to pay the entrance fee. I remember the excitement of being given money to spend on drinks and snacks during the night, which of course consisted of panda pops, those plastic juice cartons and space raiders. It was so exciting seeing our normal school hall in the dark with disco lights and some great tunes playing. I still remember how excited I was while jumping up and down to ‘In too deep’ by Sum 41, the day I had received my SATs results. Ahh, they really were simpler times.
As a teacher: I recently had the pleasure of helping out with the year 7 and 8 disco on a Friday night. As I waited there by the door in a group with some other teachers, it was actually really sweet to see all of the kids flood in through the doors, dressed up and excited for the night ahead. They also had to pay an entrance fee, this time £3 not just 50p. Many girls were wearing heels for the event, some a couple of sizes too big which made already hard to walk in heels even harder to walk in. There were surprisingly a lot of students there, even the ones who I was sure would be “too cool” to spend their Friday night at school. Although of course the music included some more recent hits, I was surprised that they still played the classics like ‘Cotton eyed joe’, which actually made a lot of the kids really excited. I’m glad the greatness of that song is still appreciated. Unfortunately though, it was not all laughter and dancing, as throughout the night there were also some tears, break-ups and fights, sadly one which ended up involving the police. There was me thinking a year 7 and 8 disco (11-13 year olds) would be free of drama. They did still have space raiders and the juice cartons though, some things will never change I guess.