For those of you that don’t know (approximately 99.99997% of you), I have been volunteering at my old school in the drama department for the past few days. As I was there, I made an interesting discovery. No, it was not that the teachers all bitch about the students in the staff room (which is totally true by the way). The discovery I made was that the older children seem to stick themselves atop a hierarchy due to their age. Now, I know this isn’t a new discovery by any means – any sibling can tell you about the older one’s superiority – in fact, this is less of a discovery and more of an observation…but discovery sounded cooler. Sorry.
Anyway, this observation came about when I was monitoring a Peer Educating workshop. For those of you that don’t know (approximately 98.99996% of you), Peer Educating is a scheme in certain schools in which the year 10s help out in year 7 tutors. Because, you know, those year 7s can be right rascals. The purpose of the workshop was to dwindle down the prospective Peer Educators (currently year 9s) by watching how they deal with the year 7s. It was interesting to watch, as the year 9s began to realise that this was the first time that they had something slightly resembling authority. Suddenly, in come two current year 10 Peer Educators.
“Alright Miss!” one says (not to me, obviously), asserting her swagger. The other just kind of nodded. They both proceed to lean on the wall at the side of the classroom like a couple of lazy shepherds watching their flock, whilst thinking “yeah, I own you”. As time went on, and the year 9s and 7s continued to mingle, these two year 10s started to flit in and out of the groups, observing. When they returned to where myself and the teacher had asserted our dominance, the more arrogant one said, in a stage whisper, “oh my god some of these year 9s are so cute!” A pause. Now I don’t know about you, but if someone seven or so months older than me called me “cute”, I would feel a little patronised, and I’m sure that a lot of these year 9s did too, especially that weird one who looks about 20. There’s one in every school. She didn’t stop there though – this girl then went on to loudly interrogate the year 9s (who, in turn, were trying to interrogating the year 7s) about what GCSEs they would take, responding with things like “oh yeah, that’s really hard – I did that”, or “yeah my friend did that. He said it was rubbish hahahaha”. As I sat, watching in a pose reminiscent to that of a Jarl of Skyrim, I began to think about the kinds of people that I encountered when I was still at school. You know, the ‘returners’ – the kinds of people that always come back to say “hi”, when you know that they are just coming back to gloat that they had the good fortune of being conceived a few months earlier than you. When I was in primary school, ex-pupils who were now in secondary school would rattle on the fence during their TD Days, and we would all look in awe at these ancient beings who were once one of us. In secondary school, ex-pupil college students would drop in, and constantly talk about their A-levels and how much harder COLLEGE was than school, and how the walk to COLLEGE was longer, and how the teachers at COLLEGE were called lecturers, and how school was nothing compared to COLLEGE. I’m not going to deny that I did this, but not to this extent, I don’t think. I would often come back to my old school to visit old teachers, but I was always very aware that they knew that I was in college, and that I didn’t need to inform them of this.
As I snapped out of my flashback – probably due to some wayward daydream dribble dripping from my jaw – I noticed that this girl was still going on about how she was going into year 11, which meant that she would be leaving soon, and oh my god A-levels – much to the boredom of the younger students. So, I did the only thing that a responsible adult would do in that situation.
“Yeah, I mean, year 11 is cool and all, but, like, when you get to university, that’s when it gets really challenging. I’m twenty-one, by the way”.
Obviously that shut her up! But it doesn’t stop there. I’ve noticed that a similar thing happens (and, I have to admit that I did this) when one passes one’s driving test. Like the whole COLLEGE thing, there seems to be a continuous reaffirmation that you can drive. “Did you get the bus?” “No, no, I drove. Because I can drive.” Or “should we go to McDonalds?” “Yeah, I’ll drive.” “But…it’s just across the stree-” “DRIVE!!!”
Perhaps this is just a phase that everyone goes through – it’s nice to let people know of your achievements, even if everyone else who is of a similar age has achieved these achievements too. God knows what will happen when I actually get a good job that’s worth bragging about…Though, contrarily, I am very apathetic about graduating from university. People keep congratulating me on my awesome results ‘n’all, but at the end of the day, the majority of people that I know are graduating too, so what makes me so special? I guess I just don’t see it as something that amazing. But that’s another ponder for another day. For now, I’m going to spend a few minutes debating whether to add ‘children’ to the tags on this post…