Can you hear that, fair Listener? It is the ecstatic collective squeal of school children around the globe as we approach the summer holidays.
And, if you listen carefully, you will hear the exhausted wails of several thousand teachers.
Fact: there is nothing more exciting than the last days of term.
Amongst the hysteria and the chaos and the inevitable child that got over-excited and quietly soiled herself in assembly, one thing was certain as we approached that last golden week: teachers would stop doing their one job.
Each lesson would become a lucky dip of unfathomable treats. What would await us on the other side of the door? A TV on wheels, stationed at the front of the class like a proud, tubby Emperor?
Or a wordsearch? The end of term is the one time in a human being’s life when a wordsearch is legitinately and shamelessly thrilling. When presented as an alternative to distilling some water, or reciting the German for ‘When the weather is good, I play tennis*’, a wordsearch is your ticket to happiness.
*Wenn das Wetter gut its, spiele ich Tennis. (Aber, wenn das Wetter schlecht ist, spiele ich Tischtennis.)
Sometimes, however, the teachers couldn’t even bring themselves to provide us with any form of stimuli, and instead left us to our own devices.
Oh, the thrill of getting away with slight alterations to your uniform! The teachers’ stringent term-time sartorial rules would gradually relax in the run-up to the holidays – they would half-heartedly frown at your trainers, or your whimsical approach to doing up your tie – until eventually they literally didn’t give a shit.
There were vague last-ditch attempts to send us on our way with some educational remnants in our brains, by making us sit through a final assembly on the importance of listening to our parents and doing our Tudor projects over the holidays, and remembering at all times that we were representatives of the school, but they may as well have been talking to a hedge.
And the peak of a mountain of almost unbearable happiness? The half day.
As the clock inched to 1pm on that final day, the teacher would take a last register and tell us to get the hell out, and as we left the school gates we would wipe away a single tear.
Oh, yes, I enjoyed years and years of tremendously exciting last days of term.
Until my very, very last day of term, in my third and final year of university.
I sat my last exam in the second week of a six week term. As I put down my pen on my Literature of World War One exam, I realised, with a strange mixture of elation and trepidation, that I had just completed my life in education. The years of coursework, seminars, lectures, revising, binge-eating Malteasers, were over. (Happily, it soon transpired that my life of binge-eating Malteasers had only just begun.) Naturally, I wanted to celebrate.
I rushed into the pub, expecting to find willing drink-gin-until-we-puke comrades, but was instead met with a silent citadel of revision.
I went home, had a cup of tea and watched Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, so I think you’ll find I had the last laugh.
So, enjoy these last days of term, particularly if they are your very last, as from now on there are no last days of term: just a continuous drudgery of work with no foreseeable end.