Today I found myself away from my usual classroom, for a day off-timetable. Instead of teaching, I met with the parents of my tutor group to discuss their progress in ten minute appointments. As my English teaching room was otherwise engaged, I was stationed in a technology workshop to hold these meetings. Chatting to adults balanced on plastic stools was a somewhat surreal experience, but by far the most unusual thing about today was the sense of nostalgia I felt.
You would think, having worked in several schools now, that I would have overcome the feeling of 'being back at school'. In fact, I don't recall even experiencing it when I arrived at my first teaching placement. Oddly, it was the smell of sawdust, the sound of band-saws and the sight of desk-clamps which brought my school days flooding back.
I remembered the toucan puppet I made, with its moving wings; the trowel I carefully moulded in metalwork and how smooth my wooden CD rack felt after what seemed like months of filing and sanding. I found myself telling the kids how surprised they will be when they look back in what will seem like a matter of weeks and realise they have left school long behind. Some, like me, will undoubtedly return, unable to wholly separate themselves from the subjects they love. Most will be left with a tangle of memories, only to be washed back by the smell of sawdust.