Having a parent as the School Nurse was the worst
Sex Education Day was a nightmare
A sense of camaraderie always seems to flow between those who had parents who worked at their school, as if it was the most terrible thing you could suffer. However the much worse, and fairly unknown struggle, lies with those whose parents worked in the Medical Centre.
People always tell you why they saw your Mum
“I saw your mum earlier,” someone will say, in passing, “I had to go to her because I have this really bad rash…” STOP. I don’t want to hear about your vomiting bug, or itch in a curious place – if I wanted to hear these things then I would be the school nurse instead.
There is an assumption you can get off school easier
I, like every other student in the world, had a few sick days in my time at school. However the level of scrutiny I faced from friends and teachers alike about whether I had actually been ill was harsher than interrogation methods used by the Secret Service (I would imagine). The correlation isn’t that your mum being the school nurse means you know how to trick her into thinking you’re ill, but that she actually knows every trick in the book when it comes to trying to get out of PE. Equally people would assume that when I was genuinely ill that I had tricked Mum into thinking that I was, and so sympathy was in short supply.
People blame you by association when they couldn’t get off sport
It’s hardly like I was a sporting dream anyway but we all had to do sport every Wednesday afternoon whether we liked it or not. Just because you would rather spend the time in the Common Room, trying to take a quick nap on the sofas, or would even rather the school day ended at lunch, doesn’t mean you’re exempt from what everyone else has to do. The scowls of people who had been rejected for off-games by the School Nurse could be seen from a mile off, and it felt like everyone had a story of a time they were ‘genuinely ill’ but the ‘nurse wouldn’t listen’ and so they were ‘forced to participate against their will’. Man up, an hour of dance isn’t exactly going to kill you, and you’re hardly being forced to run a marathon on a broken leg, are you?
Sex Education Day was a nightmare
It’s cringey enough to hear your English teacher blabber on about her favourite flavoured condom but imagine not only hearing about contraception from your mum, but knowing that other people are hearing it from her too.
They always know who you’re talking about – but you can never know the gossip
I would be deep in the midst of some riveting tale of my tedious maths lesson when I would off-handedly mention someone who sat two rows in front. Mum’s eyes would brighten, her ears perk up, and a look of knowing would cross her face. I knew she knew something, and she knew that I knew. However no amount of begging, for clues or otherwise, would convince her to give me even a titbit of knowledge but it was always infuriating to wonder what she knew.
Waiting for them after school is a daily occurrence
Why, even though the school day has ended at 3:50pm for as long as I’ve been there, and the nurses office clearly shut at 4pm on the dot, does some idiot always have to come round at three minutes to four claiming they are sick. Sometimes I wished my mum was a crueller woman and had just left them to struggle home, not caring whether they made it or not, but sadly her nurses’ compassion meant she never quite did. People groan and lament staying behind for teacher parents, but trust me when I say that sitting in the Medical Centre listening to someone throw up whilst Mum’s on their phone to a parent who can’t pick them up for another hour is not my idea of a laugh.
She never gave me alcohol
Not only was she incredibly well versed on the problems of teenage drinking, but there was not a chance in hell she wanted to deal with people rolling up on Monday suffering from a two day hangover at her hand. No matter how much begging for her to just get me one bottle of Echo Falls (or nicer if she was paying) some sense of obligation over the well-being of fellow students extended even when we weren’t in school.
I was always her Guinea Pig for anything she wanted to teach anyone else
I actually probably have benefited from this as I do now know how to resuscitate someone who isn’t breathing and help someone who is choking, but sometimes I just couldn’t find the brain capacity to take it in. It also saved me a couple of times – when Mum pulled out some suggestive posters comparing fruit to certain parts of the body at my 15th birthday party, she could tell not only from my reaction but that of my friends that perhaps they were slightly inappropriate.
All the teachers see her so there was no hiding
At my school teachers always hurried around in packs, as if a moments separation from their herd would leave them vulnerable to an attack from rabid students. The tables in the lunch hall looked like a middle aged version of Mean Girls – you have your hot Sports teachers, your dorky Maths teachers, the dramatic English teachers and the eccentric Religious Studies ones. If your parent taught chemistry you could guarantee that they would never lower themselves to speaking to some humanities teacher and vice versa – but everyone sees the nurse. There is nothing scarier than avoiding doing your GCSE Biology for nearly a whole half term and coming round at the end of the school day to find your Mum sat with the teacher. Just as you think you might get away with it they spot you and whirl back around – “Oh, there’s a point…” Already tumbling out of their mouths.