school rebellion


Margaret was a tall, dark, attractive girl. We became friends in the last year of primary school. She had a sense of adventure and a rebellious streak meaning she didn't always obey authority. Our teacher, Mrs Irvine, often produced the tawse and punished you, even for as little as not knowing an answer. I was intimidated by the belt and very seldom found myself in the humiliating position of standing in front of the class to be belted. But Margaret didn't give a toss if she was given the belt. She thought it was one huge joke.

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I hesitated. I could feel the adrenaline running through my body, each breath getting faster and faster as I contemplated my next move. I had never broken a rule, disobeyed an instruction or cheated at anything. Yet here I was considering the unthinkable. My heart was beating faster and faster as I looked around. Nobody was watching me, not a soul looking in my direction. This was it - it was now or never. I took a deep breath, composed myself and ran as fast as I possibly could.

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The Confrontation

Five foot four of righteous anger stood dead centre, facing the withering authoritarian.

Eyes locked, chin raised, she knew she had the upper hand. She was certain she was right, and he couldn't make her, or any of the other pupils make that choice.

An almost imperceptible pallor beginning to appear on his face, he roared at her to "GET OUT". She stood her ground. Didn't even flinch. She glanced back at her traitorous, weak-willed, lying friends. Her backup had failed, but still she stood, alone, proud of her resolve.

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Straight Lines

I was in primary 6. Ten years old. Old enough to know right from wrong. Young enough to be plastic and suggestible. The day had started in the usual way. I had stood at the bus stop with others in various hues of uniform, a man in a dark suit with a briefcase, the old lady who only ever travelled three stops with her shopping trolley. It was dry, so she didn’t have her flowery umbrella with her. Our bus stop had no shelter. If you walked back to the terminus, two stops away, there was one there.

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Absent Without Leave

When I was at school, there were three world leaders:

George W Bush; Tony Blair; Mr Booth -

a terrifying man with a moustache like a dictator,

and we were all Booth Youth. Black blazers and button badges

declaring our allegiance.

Following his repeated instruction

‘put up or shut up.’


We were worried about war.

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My non-existent essay.

In my last few weeks at school, I was ordered along with the rest of my peers to write an essay on the theme of “The British Commonwealth” for a competition.

I hated my school. I particularly hated my headmaster. I hated competitions. I had no opinion that the Commonwealth was exclusively a force for good. And I utterly detested being told what to write. So I spent my time in the library, like the others. I read stuff, I have no idea what. I made notes, apparently.

I did not write the essay.

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Rebel Schooldays

I was always at least half in love with my English teachers. Except one. I'll call him Mr. Mann. I think it was the hirsute-ness that intimidated us girls. The boys had nary a whisker between them, but Mr. Mann had hair escaping all over the place. Did I mention? It was the year An American Werewolf in London came out.

Try as I might I couldn't stop staring at his nostril jungle that first day. I was new to the phenomenon of a moustache that started somewhere up in the sinuses.

"Do I know you? I don't remember you from last year." He demanded.

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A Little Rebellion

I believe I was quite an innocuous wee girl at primary school. I did my work, liked to read, liked to colour in. My friends and I squabbled incessantly, but question authority? It wouldn’t have occurred to me. You have to respect those put in authority don’t you?

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The School Concert

Every Friday, there was a collection in class for the ‘Black Babies’ charity. We had all been issued a card divided into thirty small squares. For each penny we contributed, one square would be ticked off. When thirty squares had been filled in, it was for each of us to choose a name to bestow on ‘our’ baby.

One day an announcement was made that a more exciting way of raising money for the Foreign Missions had been decided upon. This was to take the form of a concert in the local Miners’ Welfare Hall.

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Stacey on the Lunch

Warning: this piece contains strong language

Decelerated positron emissions born a thousand centuries earlier bathed her face in the warmth of a late Spring morning. This time was ours and no aspects of cliché, of empathy, of knowing smiles could take away the fact that she was my princess. I knew she was for I had admired her for months, waiting for a suitable time to slay the dragon who held her prisoner.

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school rebellion, love