With the Year 12s all but disappeared from our lives (yes, the odd one will return to look up a favourite teacher and there are those awkward encounters in the real world where both parties are forced to acknowledge that the enemy is in fact an adult human being) we find ourselves betwixt and between.

The Year 11s, in particular, are infected by a kind of madness at the prospect of their ascendancy. They are like brumbies before being broken. The lower forms are similarly disarranged.

You see it in the complex geopolitics of the schoolyard where the area once reserved for the seniors to play their kamikaze version of down ball has been instantly occupied by middle schoolers. Nature abhors a vacuum.

Similarly, the juniors are shedding their cuteness and acquiring some of the unlovely traits of our species.

You round the corner of the Van Allen Belt of portables to see small people being expertly punched and kicked by others not much bigger. All attempts to elicit the reason for this are met with truculent silence. One thing victims learn very early is that any move to rat out the bullies is met with more bullying. It’s the immutable law of the jungle gym.

For teachers, it is the time you look forward to the prospect of next year’s classes. Will you score that terrible group whose infamy is already writ in school lore? Will Tarquin turn up like Nemesis in the malign lottery of fate?

Already you can hear the telltale susurration of whispering as rivals lobby for that plum class of accelerated learners. As the year levels drop away in the coming weeks like the last leaves on a tree, you feel every one of the 365 days since you last went through the process.

O how the wheel becomes it.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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