Dinner ladies are a strange group which almost seem to be an entirely separate species. Much like politicians, they always seem to be the people who should not under any circumstances be dinner ladies. I refer in this writeup to dinner ladies in primary schools, these are the ones I have had most exposure to, they are basically women who come in to supervise children at lunchtime whilst the teachers are eating. This involves policing the dining hall and playground/school field and dispensing justice in the form of forcing children to sit still in one area for set amounts of time, or being sent to the head’s office.

Unfortunately these women tend to be overprotective mothers, the sort that believe that if they make lots of rules and enforce them strongly their children will be good, then look surprised when their children rebel against them. They tend to be very strict about rules, and not care why they are there, they will also have a very strong opinion on fair play, and ensure that all children “play nice.” This often means restricting fun, but they don’t care, after all, they are sacrificing their time for these children, what right have they to complain.

One instance involving a dinner lady which took place at my primary school was that we were playing a game, I don’t remember what, but it was a standard game like football (soccer). There were an uneven number of children on each team, but we didn’t care, it was fun like that, playing with your friends. Enter the dinner lady. She insisted we make it fair by having even numbers on each team, we protested, and one of us was sent to the head’s office, so we relented and played as she wanted us to, which was much less fun. Another thing they used to do was interrupt games by insisting someone else be allowed to play, even though we didn’t want them to because there would be too many people playing the game, and they didn’t want to because they didn’t like us. This would destroy an entire afternoon’s play.

Finally there were the enforcing of meaningless rules, such as, don’t walk along this wall (it was two feet high), there was no reason to, and the teachers let us, but the dinner ladies didn’t. This was incredibly unfair, but whenever you argued with them they would tell you not to answer back, even if you were being very polite. Once my brother was sent to the head for doing cart wheeling, but the head not only let him off, but chastised the dinner lady for being too strict, she made his life hell for the rest of the week.

But, I suppose we have to have them, I know I’m not comfortable with the idea of one hundred and fifty four to eleven year olds being left to their own devices, all I ask is that there be a question on the application form: Do you want to be a dinner lady? And that anyone who answers: Yes, not be employed.

This was originally written for something else when I was about 11. It will be re-worked soon. I promise.

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