Back To School: Thoughts, Feelings And Memories

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That Time Of Year Again

In my part of the world, the new school year always started at the beginning of September, although these days it often starts in the last few days of August. This meant the summer was over and we were entering the early days of autumn/fall. The leaves were beginning to change colour/color, and the trees and bushes were bursting with fruit and nuts. It was a time of beautiful colors/colours in nature, a time for collecting blackberries, and apples, the chestnuts /conkers were getting ready for later conker fights; acorns, beech nuts, ‘helicopters’ (from the ash tree) were getting ready to fall from the trees, and bright red rose-hips and haws on the hawthorn bush attracted birds to feed.

It was a time to buy uniforms and maybe new shoes, a time to cover books and make sure everything was put into our school bags ready for the new term.

In one way we might be dreading the return to being stuck inside, homework and routine, future cold and wet winter days. In other ways, we were excited to start a new year with a new teacher, to see our friends and to learn new things.

Poems About School For Different Age Groups

September is Here 
by Lenore Hetrick (Younger Children)

School bells ringing in the morning,

Little girls in fresh print gowns.

Little boys playing together

Some acting like wild circus clowns.

From the trees the red leaves falling,

Wild geese flying overhead,

The squirrels hiding countless nuts

In their secret, wintry bed.

All these signs point just on way,

Their meaning to the world is clear.

September, first month of autumn,

Once again is reigning here.

Please Mrs Butler
 by Allan Ahlberg

This boy Derek Drew
Keeps copying my work, Miss.
What shall I do?

Go and sit in the hall, dear.
Go and sit in the sink.
Take your books on the roof, my lamb.
Do whatever you think.

Please Mrs Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps taking my rubber, Miss.
What shall I do?

Keep it in your hand, dear.
Hide it up your vest.
Swallow it if you like, my love.
Do what you think is best.

Please Mrs Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps calling me rude names, miss.
What shall I do?

Lock yourself in the cupboard, dear.
Run away to sea.
Do whatever you can, my flower.
But don’t ask me.

Here is a video of Allan Ahlberg reading that poem

Getting Dressed For School
 by Kenn Nesbitt

I must have been too sleepy

getting dressed for school today.

I tried to tuck my shirt in,

but I couldn’t make it stay. I also couldn’t tie my shoes.

I fumbled with the laces.

I snagged my scarf, and now some yarn

is dangling from my braces.

My socks are different colours,

and my trousers inside out.

My sweater from the hamper left me

smelling like a trout.

I thought I put a hat on

to control my crazy hair.

The hat turned out to be a pair

of purple underwear.

I spilled my breakfast on my clothes

and headed into school.

My friends, of course, were all impressed.

I’d never looked so cool.

For Older Children (Parental or teacher guidance probably needed)

'In Mrs Tilscher’s Class', By Carol Ann Duffy
There aren’t many modern or contemporary poems which recall schooldays with affection, but ‘In Mrs Tilscher’s Class’ does just that. Duffy paints a fond picture of her time at primary school and on the brink of adolescence, powerfully suggested by the poem’s final image of the sky breaking into a thunderstorm.

In Mrs Tilscher's class
You could travel up the Blue Nile
with your finger, tracing the route
while Mrs Tilscher chanted the scenery.
”Tana. Ethiopia. Khartoum. Aswan.”
That for an hour,
then a skittle of milk
and the chalky Pyramids rubbed into dust.
A window opened with a long pole.
The laugh of a bell swung by a running child.

This was better than home. Enthralling books.
The classroom glowed like a sweetshop.
Sugar paper. Coloured shapes. Brady and Hindley
faded, like the faint, uneasy smudge of a mistake.
Mrs Tilscher loved you. Some mornings, you found
she'd left a gold star by your name.
The scent of a pencil slowly, carefully, shaved.
A xylophone's nonsense heard from another form.

Over the Easter term the inky tadpoles changed
from commas into exclamation marks. Three frogs
hopped in the playground, freed by a dunce
followed by a line of kids, jumping and croaking
away from the lunch queue. A rough boy
told you how you were born. You kicked him, but stared
at your parents, appalled, when you got back

That feverish July, the air tasted of electricity.
A tangible alarm made you always untidy, hot,
fractious under the heavy, sexy sky. You asked her
how you were born and Mrs Tilscher smiled
then turned away. Reports were handed out.
You ran through the gates, impatient to be grown
the sky split open into a thunderstorm.

N.B. Brady and Hindley -The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around Manchester, England. The victims were five children—Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans

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