Monday, February 25, 2008

Misplaced Childhood?

I went to Parson's Green Primary School in Edinburgh when I was wee (the image on the right is a pupil's recreation of the school logo - its supposed to be a beacon burning for all to see, but I always thought it looked like a litter bin on fire, the bins they had in the playground in the 70s were metal cage-like things).

Anyway. I remember quite enjoying the first two years of my school experience. I had a nice teacher, Miss Mackay (who ended up married to my eldest brother, but that's another story!), I made some friends and generally got on OK.

Then came primary 3 and 4. For two years I had Miss Grosset for a teacher and hated every minute of it. I was a bit of a dreamer but could do sums and writing and the stuff that I was supposed to do, but I did it slowly. Miss G's solution to this problem was to shout at me. Unfortunately, my response to being shouted at was not to speed up and do the work, but to retreat further into daydreams and slow down further. Which made her shout louder. And so on.

I remember one occasion when I'd been going slow on some sums and the class was going swimming in the second half of the morning. I was shouted at and threatened that if I did not finish the sum sheet in question that I would be left while the rest of the class went swimming. I didn't finish the sums. The rest of the class went swimming. I was left - on my own, with no supervision - in the classroom to finish the sums in time for lunch. The teacher in the next door classroom occasionally peeked in, but I was basically left by myself for about 75 minutes. I don't think I ever finished the sum sheet.

Of course, such actions on the part of a teacher would be severely dealt with these days. But that is not really the point I want to make. The thing is, for years I have remembered that day as an example of how bad P3 & P4 were for me. But last week I was talking about it with my wife and I came to realise that this is my only memory of those two years! I can recall several different things that happened in P1 & P2, quite a lot from P5, loads from P6 and P7 but only one from P3 or P4 (and I don't even remember which). I must have blotted out everything else.

Generally, I have a very good memory for events, places, etc. (not people's names, sadly) and I am quite shocked to discover that two years of my life (except one morning) are missing. Can I get it back? Would I want to? I'm not sure.

By the way, P5 (Mrs Quinn), P6 (Miss Stillie & Mrs Hunter) and P7 (Miss Howie) were all reasonably pleasant experiences for me, but I would never have said I enjoyed school until I reached the high school and discovered, much to the surprise of many, that I was really quite good at maths & science.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home