Clarence Chatterbox
Clarence Chatterbox

CLARENCE CHATTERBOX: Returning to school changes with tech

CHRISTMAS is but a distant memory now and the focus has moved towards getting the kids back to school at the end of the month, although retailers would have us believe Easter was just around the corner judging by the hot cross buns for sale and Easter eggs already in supermarkets.

Getting the kids ready for school these days is a much more complicated and expensive undertaking than it was when I went to school in the '80s and '90s.

I remember being excited on the first day of a new school year as I went off to school with my new shoes (Grosby's were in vogue in my era), new backpack, new lunchbox and possibly a new uniform depending on how much growing I did from year to year.

Part of the "back to school" fun was shopping with mum and buying pens, pencils, and calculators, geometry sets in the little sardine-like tins and books.

A pencil case that all your friends could draw on in a double period of legal studies when it was a struggle not to doze off.

You would get a new exercise book for each subject and covering them all was as much an exercise in creativity as it was in mastering the beast that is sticky Contact.

Book covers were adorned with the pin-up of the moment according to Dolly magazine. Images would be cut out and carefully arranged in a collage that would be the envy of your other classmates.

When it was time to complete a school project I would wander to the neighbours who had a set of encyclopaedias and manually write all the information and reproduce it onto the whitest sheet of cardboard, complete with pictures out of books or magazines or a handwritten masterpiece drawn by Mum or Dad. These days when I tell my parents to "Google it" they still look at me puzzled and confused.

These days exercise books have been replaced with laptops and iPads, making the annual pilgrimage back to school a very expensive undertaking.

Notes are no longer recorded in books but downloaded to USB drives.

Then there is the challenge of getting your little munchkins out of bed on the first morning of school after six weeks of staying up late and sleeping in until after lunch. Battle lines will be drawn and tempers lost in this battle known as "back to school".