With school exams underway, my thoughts turned to my own schooldays – or “Thursdays” as I often called them.
I’m not saying my attendance record was poor, but I got taken off the school register and asked to sign the visitor’s book instead. Sometimes my folks would attend parents evenings with a photo of me, to jog the memories of the teachers so as they knew who to discuss.
I’m not proud and I don’t condone truancy behaviour. It’s just how I was back then, and I can’t go back and change that now.
Much as I loved English, I hated Chaucer and my revision for English Literature, A’ level, seemed to consist of “Read 1st line of Wife of Bath, go to Pan Study Aid book to find out what it meant. Read 2nd line of Wife of Bath, go to Pan Study Aid book to find out what it meant” – ad infinitum. Why couldn’t he just write proper English?
I struggled too with Maths. I can do the basics very easily but there were concepts I couldn’t get my head around. We were taught Binary numbers (where no number can be written bigger than 1) which are important in computer code but utterly useless in everyday life.
For example, I couldn’t go to a grocer and say “I’d like 1,0,0,0 apples” because he’d give me a thousand apples instead of 8 because everyone uses a decimal system.
Similarly, I’ve had no experience in adulthood where I’ve needed to use a logarithm, but spent a fortnight learning those tables.
My art skills never developed and any drawings I do today are rudimentary and akin to those of my 5-year-old self. Also, in two years of woodwork classes, all I made was one stool and a few friends.
And I knew I failed my Geography exam when I couldn’t find my way to the examination hall.
Despite all this, I somehow passed 1 A’level (English) and, in Binary numbers, an impressive 1001 O’levels.