I had to smile yesterday morning.
On Facebook, @doremigirl shared a mother’s thoughts as her daughter got on the bus for an orientation day to Grade 9. It’s an emotional day for her and many more moms and dads everywhere as students head off to the great unknown. Ditto to the younger ones headed to Kindergarten.
I reflected back on my own orientation to high school.
We didn’t need to know the layout of the school. We moved as a class. I was in the B&C (Business and Commerce) stream. Our teachers would just tell us where the next room was and we headed as a pack to that room.
We didn’t need no orientation.
Instead, we had Initiation Day.
Thankfully, it wasn’t the first day of school or we’d never return.
It was organized by the Student Council and I’m sure that they convinced the administration that this day was good for us. In fact, the rules were given over the PA at the end of the day before. There was also a extra warning from the principal that attendance and participation was mandatory and that there were extra punishment for skipping or being sick.
Here’s the deal.
Initiative Day started 15 minutes before class. The only safe havens were washrooms and classrooms. In the hallways, or on the school yard, we “Grubby Grade Niners” were open game for any Grade 12 or 13 student. If they caught us, we had to do what they instructed us. It involved carrying books, opening their lockers, getting stuffed into lockers, eating dubious looking food, drinking dubious looking drinks, and maybe other things that escape my mind at this time.
How did they know who the Grade 9 students were?
We had to dress up. The boys had to wear their mother’s nighties. I don’t recall what the girls had to wear.
The whole day was a nightmare.
It was over fifteen minutes after the day ended. Thankfully, I walked to school so I didn’t get the additional joy that must have come from taking the bus.
I suppose that the logic was this was an activity to welcome us to the school and to build some sort of community. I didn’t get any of that. But, I did learn how to quickly get from one class to another and learned where all the staircases were.
Given our decencies of 2012, how many things are wrong with above scenario?
So, remember your own initiation days the next time someone talks about how good education used to be and they pine for a return to the good old days.
In the meantime, I’m sure that students’ first visits and orientations are exciting as they embark on a new part of their lives. And, for any that return home with a bad taste, just remind them that it could be much worse.