My first day in the school playground was terrifying. Everyone else seemed to know each other. Chatting, laughing clusters of comfortable, relaxed people made connections and bonded. I decided – out of sheer defensiveness – that was not for me. I would instead enter and leave the playground untouched by human contact. No chatting, no laughing, and definitely no PTA meetings or arranging the summer fair. One experienced mum writes in The Guardian.
That lasted about a week. My daughter became close friends with two girls and I followed suit with their mothers. As my child’s friendship circle expanded, so did mine. I began to bake cakes for events and tried to control my competitiveness. I lugged innumerable huge folding tables from dark corners and pinched my fingers setting them up. I ventured into the dank horror of the disco room at parties where sugar-enraged under-10s sweated out manic interpretations of Lush Life and Uptown Funk.
Many afternoons standing behind a trestle table in a playground selling baked goods were enlivened by the spectacular rudeness of our customers. So keen was I to prove my lack of professionalism that I met rudeness with sarcasm and once yelled after a man – who was passive-aggressively chuntering about “very expensive cakes” – that “they aren’t expensive at all sir, and this is for your children!”
The parent-teacher association was all the cliches you can throw at it – middle class, do-gooding, prescriptive and ravenous for women’s free time. But it raised some money, staged some joyful communal events, and tried to include everyone.
And there’s the rub. This was the month of summer fairs and of farewells. Most parents of year 6 children are now facing the last day of primary school, but they will also be throwing their thoughts and worries forward. What they won’t be, as I know from recent experience, is in any way braced for how different their lives as parents are about to become.
Misanthropic me should be pleased not to be rubbing shoulders with other parents at drop-off. And – full disclosure – it is a relief. But it’s a shock to discover how suddenly school becomes none of your business. For children, it’s the first stage of preparation for the adult world.
Read the full article Saying goodbye to your child’s primary school? You’re going to miss it
How do/did you feel as a parent saying goodbye to your child’s primary school? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.
We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!