the shirt signing

They flock out onto fields like crows

Blazers flapping in the summer breeze

And felt tip pens held aloft, a sword

To swoop and slash across the whiteness

Of the shirt. And soon they’re covered

In garish writing, names and memories

Of five years spent with some

They’ll never see again, a poignant time

That fades as quickly as the midday sun.

Our Year 11 students have their shirt signing afternoon arranged for next week. For those outside the UK, this is something that we all do on our final day of secondary school – I still have my shirt from 22 years ago.

Basically, the Year 11 students finish their final day and they are then allowed to spend an hour getting their shirt signed by everyone in their year – and a lot of teachers get in on the act too.

It feels like such a special time and it is really poignant as some of these students will never see each other again. After spending five years with each other, some will go to college and others to work, and then they may go onto universities all over the country.

It is one milestone that seems to mark the passing of childhood and the beginning of their new lives as adults. I wish them luck, and I do wonder how many of them will keep that shirt tucked in the back of a wardrobe for thirty years, and look back fondly at those signatures every now and then?

Much Love

Rachel xx

5 thoughts on “the shirt signing

  1. Margot Kinberg

    We have shirt signings in the US, too, Rachel, and it really is meaningful. As you say, some of these people won’t see each other again, and even those who do – well, it’s a special memory. It reminds me of when we used to sign each other’s yearbooks.

    1. patientandkindlove

      I don’t think many of my Year 11 class liked me this year. They made me cry several times so there’s no love lost there. But I guess they won’t want a reminder of me on their shirt. I could write something horrible on their back though….

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