99 Word Flash Fiction: School

Charli’s prompt  August 20, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about school. The setting can be a school, involve students and teachers or can be about schooling in general. How has school influenced a place or a character? Respond by noon (PST) Tuesday, August 26 to be included in the compilation.

Such a broad topic brings forward so many thoughts, particularly of my own experiences of schooling. I started early in life attending the Church of England girls Grammar school from the age of three. I was far too young to start but they were desperate for a latin teacher and in order to secure my mother’s services offered me a place. My report cards from this time are hilarious. 

Then we moved to another country town and my brother and I eventually attended the same school. Not a great outcome as we were very different scholastically and the teachers couldn’t help but point this out to me. The more they pointed it out the more I rebelled although I loved my primary school days.

High school in the city was different again. Huge numbers of students but although my brother was unknown there, my mother’s brilliant past was revered by my teachers and I rebelled even more. I would have left at the completion of the school certificate but my parents forced me to stay on. I couldn’t see the point. I knew I was going nursing and this grade was all that was required. Now, still at school, I am pleased my parents laid down the law.

It is so different in the country though. The country town where we had our shop had a primary school with two and a half teachers. Grades were mixed together. Kindy, 1st and 2nd together, 3rd and 4th whilst 5th and 6th class were grouped. Difficult for both the teachers and the students. At Curricabark there was also a school. It closed a couple of years ago. It was a one teacher school and all grades were mixed in together. When the Education Department closed it, because 1 pupil started high school, the number of students fell below the minimum required to keep the school operational. From that time the young children off the remote properties would have to travel up to two hours from their homes to get to school, often leaving in the dark and returning in the dark.

This was not unusual for the country though and as a result many students left as soon as possible with many sick days taken throughout the year. From locals our age we heard numerous tales of themselves, farm kids riding their horses to school and the pranks they used to get up to. We also heard of the poverty that existed in the countryside. For many they saw it as a waste of time as they knew they were going to work on the farm.

“Come on. We’ll be late.” Billy urged.

“I  don’t wanna go.” said Harry.

“But it’s fun. Readin’, Ritin ‘n Rithmetic. Hurry up”

“I should be helping at home with the milking”

“You wanna do that for ever”

“Too right I wanna. What else would I do? Soon as I’m fourteen I’m out of here”

“Not me. My kids are gonna wear shoes.”

 

“Help me Harry. All these blasted forms. Never thought I’d need the three R’s. Blast this government. Blast this GST.”

“Lucrative business accountancy these days Bill. I’m sure glad I put my head down and studied hard.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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11 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: School

  1. Norah says:

    Hi Irene, I enjoyed reading about your schooling experience and attitude to it. It is interesting that the characters in your story reflect those same experiences and attitudes, one perhaps your attitude at the time of schooling, and one now that you can see the value of education. It is a great bit of flash writing.
    I had almost the opposite experience. My father would have liked me to leave school after year ten and complete a one-year teacher training course. I wanted to stay on, complete year twelve and a do a three-year training course. Fortunately my father’s preferred option was no longer available and I completed my studies as I wished.
    I love learning and can’t imagine a time when I would not have the desire to learn something new. Most of my learning is self-directed though with only minimal formal academic studies since completing my teacher training. I did begin a masters at one stage but didn’t complete it for a variety of reasons. Though I don’t regret the decision to not, sometimes I wish I had completed it.

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    • One lecturer in my undergraduate days said that all he expected any of us to leave university knowing was how to find the information that we needed at any particular time. The internet was not in everyone’s homes at that point. I think he was right and the love of learning is a far more valuable attribute to have than any formal qualification. I wish however that I could become a chocolate bomb again as I think I would now put it to so much better use than I did at the time (although I believe I remember most of my primary school lessons I could have asked and found out so much more and just soaked it in).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        I definitely agree with your lecturer about knowing how to find out the information you need. There’s too much for any one person to know, though I must admit I still meet a few ‘know it alls’! I’d like to be a chocolate bomb in the school I am going to write about in my next post!!
        Thanks for coming back and continuing the conversation! 🙂

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      • When you start something such an enjoyable conversation you have to expect us to be back for our two bobs worth. Your next school sounds perhaps a bit sombre but I will look forward to reading as always. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        I love that you give your two bobs worth. I hope you don’t find the post too sombre! 🙂

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  2. Pingback: The best of days | Norah Colvin

  3. TanGental says:

    Ha, now that flash brings to mind an expression of my father’s: ‘the world hates nothing as much as a smart arse!’ Lovely juxtaposition of views.

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  4. Charli Mills says:

    Great dialog in your flash–sounds just like a couple of buddies or brothers on their way to school. An interesting twist, though, that the schoolboy who drug his feet was the one who stayed and studied! Country schools are markedly different. Having had my kids in both I have mixed opinions. Overall I don’t like the administrations of the bigger schools and the emphasis on test scores. Yet, the smaller schools often lacked resources and opportunities. Ultimately my kids had some amazing opportunities. Education was suspect in my father’s family–they did not like “educated” people. You worked hard. I learned to work smart and broke that family dynamic. It sounds like what your character did, too! Really captures that country attitude when you can’t see beyond working the land and livestock.

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    • Well picked up Charli. I did actually mean to have the characters true to their youth and got them mixed up (lack of due diligence) but perhaps it works either way as so often we alter as we get older and do things that are quite different to our child view point. I look at schools these days and they look like fun. They do a lot more creative activities in the teaching of the basics and certainly the playgrounds are full of exciting activities which are covered by shade cloth. We used to just get sun stroke and suffer as we had to drink the warm school milk.

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  5. Pingback: Back to School « Carrot Ranch Communications

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