This is not a post about how fab my week was – actually it was pretty nice – but about a week at school when the normal teaching schedule is suspended. It stands for Alternative Curricular, uh, something. I could hazard a guess but I’d like to keep it clean!
Anyway, this week the Year 11s and 13s are away; having finished their exams they’ve flown off to de-stress and make oodles of money to prop up their heavy University debt-in-waiting accounts. Meanwhile the entire Year 8s – we don’t chop them in half – go off to a camp of fun and frivolity in Marlow (the week after Henley Regatta and the river still hasn’t recovered). The Year 10s are doing work experience and the year 9s have left Lower School for the week (we are a split site) and descended on Upper School where they have a super 5 days doing crazy things which introduces them to staff and the site in a relaxed, informal way. They have the place to themselves, bar the sixth form which is echoing with the few padded feet of keen Year 12s who are signed up for the Extended Project and the Year book peeps. That leaves the Year 7s who went wild at Lower school all by themselves. They are putting into practice (unwittingly) everything they have learnt this past year, performing shows, doing maths puzzles (they don`t realise, snigger!), re-living medieval Britain…there`s even a `The Apprentice` session where they have to develop, plan, market and faux-sell a product. Our stand-in Alan Sugar is much more debonair!
So what did I do? You may well ask. Apart from being nabbed for a few meetings I pretty much stayed home and tried to work on the next novel which should have been ready this week. I have hit that damnable little hiccup where I go to have a final read and before I know it am changing things which have a knock-on effect and… you get the picture. I call it `can`t put the brush down` syndrome (and I didn`t name it after Basil`s wife). Today, however, after an early meeting I went shopping and then opened up the sports and social club in the village for the Year 9s. One of their tasks is to walk (a long 2 hour walk over fields) to this village where they stop for a rest, have a kick of a football and lunch, before walking back. It felt weird to serve these kids who I`d seen grow up over the last five years. In school, with their uniforms on, it is easy to continue treating them like children, but in the `grown up` world it was a different matter. But that feeling really only lasted for about ten minutes for as soon as one of them decided to put their feet up on the furniture I entered into school staff mode and then I felt much more comfortable. I like to think they did too.
They`re brilliant kids and I`m really proud of them.