Desks of doom! #blimage

In response to Steve Wheeler’s invitation, here’s my response to his #blimage request. But first, Steve explains #blimage as:

“You send an image or photograph to a colleague with the challenge that they have to write a learning related blog post based on it. Just make sure the images aren’t too rude. The permutations are blimmin’ endless.” Steve Wheeler, 2015

The above (banner) image is an edited version of the challenge, an image Steve set those of us who takes up his challenge – a row of fairly old flip-top desks.

The thing is, I hadn’t thought of these for years, but I sat at one from when I started at secondary grammar school to when I left after completing my A-levels! That’s a looong time (including resits)!!

So, what do they mean to me? 

They mean sitting in silence trying desperately trying to keep up with my history teacher as he dictated our notes on the Russian revolution, World War II, and England in the time of Gladstone and Disraeli. They represent a language teacher I really really didn’t like, and using it as a shield as I wrote and passed notes to my friends. They mean leaving my textbooks and notebooks in overnight only to find them missing in the morning. They signify desperate and pathetic attempts to store notes during tests and to surreptitiously try and lift the lid to cheat.

Calculators were hidden in them during class and tests, comics were quickly thrown in and the lid slammed shut before the teacher caught me or my friends reading them. Latin books were dumped there and found there way to the bottom, never to see daylight again (the same with homework and reports). Worse was to come during puberty … ;-)

The desks were 5 rows deep in the classroom, spread across 3 pairs from one side to the other, and there was always one empty one, right in front of the teacher, you know, for the poor unfortunate sod who got caught talking, cheating, was late, messing around. Or was new.

Most of the time, in years 1 to 5 (or years 7-11 as they now are), we stayed in our form room and the teachers came to us. This is why I knew my desk intimately … every bit of grafitti, every notch or chip in the desk lid or ink well (no, I’m not old enough to have used at as an actual ink well, but I did try cartridge pens for a while: I thought they made me cool. I was wrong), and how high you can lift the lid before it creaks and groans and gives you away to the teacher.

These desks were, as I also found out in Geography, great to hide behind when you hear the whistle of the board rubber whizzing it’s way to the back of the room as the teacher tried to silence you as he drew diagrams of glaciers and truncated spurs on the blackboard.

I’ve remembered so much more about my school days from this one image. I’ve also remembered how much I hated those desks, not for what they are, but for what they now represent about my school days – overbearing, controlling, and extremely formal, leaving no room for individuals or any kind of creativity.

How I survived and made it to University, I don’t know. I think it was more to the credit of my parents and their belief in me than my teachers, or my attempts to provide the level of assignments required from an environment so alien and restrictive to someone like me who has an imagination and creative streak.

Not all teachers at this school we’re bad – I have very fond memories of a few who I was able to connect to and with on many personal levels (Mr Hubbard for English, Mr Webb for Geography, Mr McCabe for French, and Mrs Wass as my year 4 and 5 form teacher).

It couldn’t have been all that bad, I’m still here and doing alright, I think.

Right. Your turn. You can use Steve’s image for your own #blimage or one of your own – or this one of mine, available on CC (below). Write your own blog post or update somewhere, and please put a link to it below for all to see?