Church of England Primary School Assembly
It was my first day at school, because of the way UK schools used to work you could start in whichever term started after you’d had your birthday. I was the only child to start in the second term of that year and was sitting in my very first weekly Assembly in the front row.
Headmaster: Now we’ve reached the end of this Assembly, there’s just one thing left to do. Has anyone had a birthday this week or during the Christmas Holidays? Please put up your hands if you have.
(Hands go up including mine.)
Headmaster: Ok, there’re three of you, please come to the front and stand next to me, oldest first.
(We get up and move to the front and stand as he asks, me last. The Headmaster tells the school that in a minute they’ll sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to all three of us and then asks the two children preceding me what day their birthdays are, how old they’ll be and if they’ve had any presents yet or what they’re hoping to get. Me being a bit of a show-off I’m looking forward to telling everyone the answers to these questions when it’s my turn.)
Headmaster: Now, you’re new here, when’s your birthday?
Headmaster: (looks disappointed) Oh. How about you sit down?
Me: (disappointed) But…aren’t you going to ask me about what presents I got this morning?
Headmaster: I know this is your first day at school, so I’ll let you off this once if you go sit down.
Me: What did I do wrong?
Headmaster: You have to wait until it’s your real birthday to come and stand up here.
Me: (Confused) But it is my real birthday. I opened my presents this morning.
Headmaster: (To my class teacher) Ok, go and get the register.
(To me and the rest of the school) Sometimes we want to make things up to make ourselves fit in, but even though it may not seem like it, that’s a type of lie and it is wrong. It’s ok to make a mistake, but when you realise it was a mistake then you have to apologise.
(I nod along with him.)
Headmaster: Do you apologise?
Headmaster: Did you understand what I just told you?
Me: (Confidently) Yes.
Class Teacher:(comes back into the room looking very surprised) Um…she’s right. It is her birthday today!
There was a moment of silence when I apparently looked very expectantly at the Headmaster who went very red. Then, to his credit, apologised to the small girl stood in front of him as that had been what I was very obviously expecting from his speech…it wasn’t until years later that I realised he’d been expecting *me* to apologise!