Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

It All Ends in Tears: Comment

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

It All Ends in Tears: Comment

Article excerpt

You know something extraordinary is taking place when Courtney writes "Miss U 4 Eva" on the back of Ryan's school shirt. Could it be that we are on the brink of a new era of reconciliation? Or are we simply witnessing the latest manifestation of that annual phenomenon known as the Great Leaving Day Lament?

For the past few weeks, a mixture of post-testing aggression and pre- hormonal tetchiness has left our 11-year-old children unbearably stroppy. And a recent heatwave has only conspired to make things worse. Long before this day dawned, it was clear that a storm was brewing and there was nothing anyone could do.

At around mid-morning on the final day of term, the emotional bubble bursts and a torrential outpouring of class hysteria sweeps over all before it. In an instant, all that swaggering belligerence is washed away by a deluge of impassioned weeping. Old enmities transform into new amity, while pledges of eternal friendship are inscribed in permanent marker.

There is a precedent for this sort of summer madness. In July 1518, some 480 years before Zumba was invented, a woman named Frau Troffea began to dance wildly in the streets of Strasbourg. Her actions caught on and within a month hundreds of her fellow citizens were gyrating themselves into an early grave.

Most cases of collective obsessional behaviour start with one person doing something wildly unpredictable, and the Great Leaving Day Lament of 2013 is no exception. Its origin can be traced directly to Nathan. If Daisy had burst into tears no one would have raised an eyebrow. …

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