Thursday, 12 July 2012

Newbies

Today was secondary transfer day for schools in our area.  The day when all the girls coming to our school in September come for a taster day.  They look so small {even to me, but by Christmas they will all be taller than me I bet} and nervous and excited.  The routines of secondary school that we take for granted are all so new.  Having to change rooms for each lesson instead of staying in the same desk all day is a big surprise.  Our school is over 100 years old so has many buildings that have been built on over the years so for some lessons you can have quite a trek going from indoors to outdoors, across a tennis court, round the back of the gym, past the swimming pool and dance studio...  A map of the school is one of the first things they are given.  I've worked there for over ten years and there are still some parts of the school I've never been to!
Very soon, their parents will be spending vast quantities of money on new uniform.  Several sizes too big, because they will grow into them - we've all been there haven't we?  There were some pieces of PE equipment I bought for my daughter that were never, ever worn (like mother like daughter)!  Our uniform is not particularly appealing.  It's brown.  Brown skirt and blazer with a brown and white striped blouse.  Brown socks, brown shoes, brown hair accessories.  We considered changing it a few years ago and asked for students' opinions.  Strangely enough, Facebook groups were started from ex-students calling for us to 'save our brown uniform'.  The same girls who moaned about it for 7 years while they were there!  I think that complaining about your uniform and trying to rebel by not wearing it properly is all part of the rite of passage.  Our skirts used to be calf length pleated kilts.  So the girls started wearing them longer and longer until they were floor length.  We changed to knee length as safety was becoming an issue, and now they roll them up as short as they can.  Do they not realise that by turning over the waistband half a dozen times, they are actually adding about 6" to their waistlines?  We also have to smile at the orange fake tans of the Year 10 girls.  One day they will look back on their school photos and say 'what was I thinking?'.   Our reception desk looks like a counter of Boots the Chemist as we regularly have girls sent down to remove nail varnish or makeup.  'But I'm hardly wearing any' they cry as the cotton wool pad soaked in make up remover turns from pristine white to a muddy brown.  'These are my natural eyelashes' they insist - I don't think so!  No extremes of hairstyle the home/school agreement says.  Extreme is obviously a matter of opinion.  The latest thing here is 'dip dying' where the top of your head is brown/blonde and the ends are coloured.  I don't think anyone could successfully argue the case that purple tips to the end of your hair is 'natural'.
Yes, you look at those little girls, aged 11, keen to move onto High School.  Desperate to fit in, and promising to follow the rules.  Yet you know that in a few years time they will be pushing boundaries and no matter how much we chuckle about it in the office, we all know were were EXACTLY the same.  Do you remember 'adapting' your school uniform? 
Can you believe that me and my three friends here are all wearing the same school uniform?

10 comments:

Scrappi Sandi said...

Such a wonderfully nostalgia inducing post!! We used to pull threads out of tie stripes to 'customise' them...& 'long hair must be tied back' became wearing a rubber band on the last inch of each pigtail!!...& how we used to run up & down flights of stairs in 5" heels & 3" platforms??? Well it was the 70's in a secondary modern!!! :) Thanks for the memories!!

Elizabeth said...

We had navy blue jumpers and the skirts had to be a certain length. My SIL used to wear a piece of elastic around her waist and hike the skirt of her jumper up so it looked poofy (and shorter.) I'd much rather have a brown blazer, skirt, and brown and white striped shirts! I hated that navy blue.

Cheri said...

I went to public school. I never had a uniform. I can't quite imagine a sea of kids all dressed the same and being the teacher trying to sort out who's who.

Karen said...

For the 6th form we were allowed to choose our own uniform. We made it in needlework at the end of Y5. We chose trousers and a tunic top made out of burgundy crimpoline looking back it was hideous!

scrappyjacky said...

I can remember rolling up the waist of my skirt!!!!!

Maria Ontiveros said...

No uniform for me in the U.S. public schools, but we had a dress code of sorts (no shorts or pants for girls back in the early 1960's). In Jr. High, I got sent home for showing my midriff (stomach). Things certainly changed by then (early to mid 70's).
Rinda

Abi said...

Ha ha! This made me laugh because I was looking back on pictures of me taken about five years ago and admiring my painstakingly straightened hair and my rolled up skirt. I too thought, What was I thinking! That picture is great!

Denise said...

Oh i remember wearing those puff sleeved blouses with a short sleeved cardi over the top - and I had a red and white swirly skirt that was only just allowed...great post Deb x

Alison said...

I remember having my skirt constantly rolled up and arguing with my mum about being allowed to wear platform shoes to school!
Alison xx

Sian said...

I love this post! The fashion here is for very short skirts, so TSO's waist band is rolled over several times. And there is a constant battle over shoes with a heel. For a while here the sixth formers looked like something out of St Trinian's with their stilettos, but the new Head has put a stop to that!