Back in the day, long before there was text messaging, you had to – gasp! – actually write out notes and pass them to each other. No delete button. If you wrote it, it was out there for everyone to see: the person the note was intended for, all of his/her friends, and if you were particularly unlucky – the teacher. Let’s take a look back at this childhood tradition.
In a room where talking was shunned, there was really only one option when you just had to tell someone something or find out pertinent information on the social status of each other – a stealthily handwritten note. Perhaps you wanted to profess your love. Perhaps you wanted to know if someone liked you. Perhaps you just wanted to make a nasty remark about the old spinster with the apple on her desk you lovingly referred to as your teacher.
There were a couple of delivery options but none without risk. It wasn’t as if you could put a wax seal on your note to ensure that only the intended recipient was privy to this secret information. Unless the recipient happened to sit within reach, you either had to have the note passed from classmate to classmate (and curiosity was going to get the better of someone along the way) or consider a forward pass, which was likely to be intercepted. And should the teacher, with her eagle eyes, happen to notice any of this, the game was over. And, of course, Murphy’s Law suggested that, if the subject of the note was the teacher, nine out of ten times, she was going to catch you red-handed.
All in all, none of these potential consequences did much to deter students from taking the risk. There was juicy information to be shared and, no, it couldn’t wait until the bell rang.
Did you ever get caught passing a particularly embarrassing note in class? Share all the juicy details with us in our comments section. We can all commiserate together as we reflect upon this classroom tradition from yesteryear, eventually replaced with more high-tech means of communication.