From Roger Red Hat and Billy Blue Hat teaching us how to read, to signing each other’s shirts after we’d finally completed our O-Levels or GCSEs, school in the 1980s was full of things that – as soon as we recall them as adults – immediately transport us back to a time when we didn’t have a single responsibility or care in the whole wide world.
Make yourselves nice and comfy, as once again we had down memory lane with a look back at some school-based memories that only 80s kids will be able to understand and appreciate.
13. Revolving towels
Washing hands during our school days always meant having to share a revolving towel, which was about as hygienic as it sounds.
We remember the towel always being completely sopping wet, either because the device itself was broken, or because operating it was far too complicated for us to master.
12. Grease-proof toilet paper
Children these days are spoilt rotten by being provided with regular soft toilet paper in their school’s toilet cubicles.
In our day we had to make do with grease-proof toilet paper, which was so rough that it practically tore the skin from our sensitive behinds.
11. Massive pull-down maps in class
Long before the days of computers and interactive whiteboards, our Geography teacher had to use more archaic methods to teach us about the countries of the world.
One of these methods involved pulling down massive maps in class, before proceeding to embarrass us in front of our friends by asking us for the capital of this, that or the other.
10. Lunchbox flasks
If you ever had a lunchbox that came adorned with He-Man, My Little Pony, ThunderCats or Care Bears characters, then you’ll no doubt remember the giant flask they came packaged with.
Why manufacturers thought to provide such an item to us non-tea or coffee-drinking young children we don’t know, but at the time we thought nothing of it.
9. Staining letters with tea to make them look old
We bet that at some point during your school days you wrote a letter and stained it with tea to make it look old.
The more ambitious teachers may have even burnt the edges of the now historical-looking document with a match to make it look even more ancient.
8. Wheeling in a TV and VHS player from another classroom
Watching an educational film when we were at school was far more troublesome than it probably is for the technologically savvy teachers and pupils of 2020.
Back in the 1980s, it involved someone being sent out to wheel a massive TV and VHS player unit from another classroom, and then waiting half an hour for our teacher to work out how to use the remote control.
7. The pain of being hit by a blackboard wiper
There were a number of problems with the blackboards that were a regular fixture in our childhood classrooms, with the sound of a teacher’s nails being scratched down them being the least of our worries.
More troublesome was the pain of the board’s wiper hitting us on the head, when our teacher had noticed us chatting to the person next to us rather than paying attention to our work.
6. Making labels with one of these gadgets
We were satisfied with simple pleasures in the days before every school kid owned a mobile phone, with an example being the fantastic label gadgets that we occasionally got to play with. (The item above was called a Dymo Label Maker, in case you’d forgotten.)
Whether we were spelling out our name or labelling the classroom drawers, these brilliant gadgets were really fun to use, but why did the roll of labels always run out when we were using them?
5. Blue paper towels
Whether you had spilled a drink or your classmate had been sick all over the floor, the solution was always exactly the same: grab the blue paper towels!
Made from the toughest paper that we’ve ever come across, one blue towel could clean up an unbelievably large amount of spillage.
4. Decorating and laminating your new school book
As much as we didn’t always enjoy doing our work, there was always something rather exciting about being given a brand new school workbook.
And one of the things we were often asked to do, besides write our name on the front, was to decorate and then laminate them, for extra protection.
3. The class guillotine
If our memory serves us correctly, then we spent half our lives ‘mounting’ work on different coloured paper to display proudly in a scrapbook.
This process always involved cutting paper down to size with the classes only guillotine, the queue for which was nearly always ten pupils deep.
2. Using Tipp-Ex as a substitute for nail varnish
We obviously weren’t allowed to bring (or even wear) nail varnish to school, but thankfully there was always a brilliant, readily available, classroom-based substitute.
This was of course Tipp-Ex, the application of which always matched our white school shirts rather nicely.
1. Watching the TV learning countdown clock
One for the slightly older 80s kids amongst you here, who may remember having to sit and wait before watching an educational programme along with the rest of the country.
The programme was always preceded by a memorable countdown style timer, which was accompanied by a rather delightful, catchy tune.