I’m sure that the vast majority of you looked forward to the end of school term, for the obvious reason that you were going to get some time off school to do whatever you wanted. That last school day before the holidays always felt special, and it was especially good when your teacher felt that way too and decided we could put normal lessons to one side and enjoy ourselves.
The best chances of the teacher getting into the holiday mood were at the end of a full term when you would be on holiday for two weeks or more, that is the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays. The half term break was not generally deemed exciting enough for the teacher to give the class some fun time.
Primary school was the best for end of term fun. Our school allowed us to bring in games from home to play with our school mates, and whilst there may have been some work left for us to do, such as cleaning out our tidy trays or helping the teachers remove that terms paintings from the school walls so we could take them home, plenty of time was still available for play.
When the teacher finally decreed it was game time everybody shot off to see what games everybody else had brought in. Since all the games had been piled up in the corner since morning registration, everyone had been eyeing up the games deciding which one they wanted to play. Of course, you didn’t always know which kid had bought in which game, so you prayed that the game you really wanted to play belonged to your best mate. If it didn’t, there would be a large number of hollow “I’ll be your best mate” promises made as everybody scrambled to suddenly be friends with the unpopular kid who had brought in Electronic Battleships.
When you got older the fun didn’t necessarily stop, but it would take a different form. Bringing in board games at “big school” was not really practical, so if you were lucky enough to get a holiday loving teacher for one of your lessons then you might find yourselves taking part in a Girls versus Boys general knowledge quiz, or playing Charades or some other kind of parlour game. Another possibility was being allowed to watch a video, which even if it was a film related to the subject you were supposed to be doing was generally better than listening to the teacher drone on for an hour.
One advantage that secondary school sometimes brought was that the last day of term might be cut short, with everyone being allowed to go home at lunchtime. This never seemed to be officially announced, but instead rumours started spreading round the school at the beginning of the last week that we might be getting the afternoon off. It was always a crushing feeling when the rumour turned out to be false, but was uplifting when it was true.