David's first day at school - September 1985.
The Autumn Term in a primary school is a very busy one. From the first day to the last, there is something important happening. We celebrated all the major religions, starting with Diwahli - the Hindu festival of light, Harvest Festival, through Jewish New Year, Eid and finally Christmas came. In the school we celebrated before Christmas so that all the decorations could be taken down before school broke up for the two week Christmas holiday. Some teachers liked to celebrate Epiphany on or around the 7th January so the three Kings would be dressing the walls in a wonderful frieze for a few days in the New Year.
In between the festivals, the nature tables were overflowing with produce - everything from old birds' nests to tiny acorns.
The staff were very kind to me when I started my temporary assignment and I soon became familiar with the daily routine,which was not too onerous for me in the beginning. Later on, in 1989, when the first computer arrived and new software was installed, life became easier on one hand and more difficult on the other. It's strange how those things happened. We were aiming towards a paperless office but in reality, there seemed to be more paper generated because it was so easy just to print off a new class list, every time someone joined or left the class.
I'm getting ahead of myself. Here I am in the Autumn of 1985 expecting the temporary assignment to last until the end of the year so I didn't want to get too used to it. However, I knew that the outgoing secretary was not coming back and she had had her retirement party in the school hall with tears and cheers to celebrate her seventeen years there. So I had hopes. I liked the atmosphere at the school. I got on well with the Head Mistress and the staff and the distance of the school from home was just right to fit into my daily routine. It was tiring but doable.
David enjoyed his first term at his own school. His teacher was straight out of college, new qualified, young and enthusiastic and he did well from the start. In the picture above he is wearing his new spiderman shoes, which he was very proud of, I recall!
My job was advertised in all the local newspapers and in the local educational supplement (no websites in those days). The job was paid for forty weeks of the year - no pay in the holidays for the ancillary staff, but the pay was spread out over twelve months so there weren't any gaps. It came with a calling; not everyone would like to be in a building with 150 five to seven year olds on a daily basis.
I applied and was pleased to get an interview. The interview date was set for February 3rd 1986, the same day as my middle son Edward's birthday. He was going to be eight years old, which involved a party and lots of friends round to the house for games and cake.
Perhaps it would be a double celebration? I had to wait and see and it seemed a long wait. It was not a foregone conclusion that I would get the job but I suppose I had an advantage because I was there doing it. I would have to wait and see...
Next time: 1986 - an interview and a case of the mumps.