As I try valiantly to get them on course for some sort of exam pass at least, I can't help but feel depressed. And not just because they are looking at me with that fatal combination of confidence and stupidity. No, it's worse than that. It's the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding style preparations that even the most sensible of girls seem hell-bent on embarking upon.
I try not to gawp as girls discuss how they have paid up to a thousand pounds for prom dresses, hired limos and have appointments at the ready for hair, nails and spray tans. There's something about it that makes me glad I'm not young. That, in fact, I did my growing up in what now feels like quaint, simplistic, borderline Amish times.
When I left school, the closest we got to a prom was on TV, watching American films where they were of course a regular part of school life. Although looking back, they never seemed to end well; I give you Carrie. I think maybe we could have had an end of year disco but, given that conditioner hadn't even been invented yet, I'm guessing it was a low fuss affair. Expectations would have been small, some music, soft drinks and maybe a bag of chips on the way home.
I know everybody looks back on their own childhood with a rosy glow, claiming that young people these days don't know they're born, blah blah blah. But, in fact, I think young people have never had it so tough and not just because of a lack of opportunities. Expectations these days are so high, surely it's inevitable that experiences can only disappoint. How can a prom, that has been in the making for the better part of a year and consumed people's lives in such a way that nothing else seems to matter, possibly live up to its promise.
Combined with these overblown expectations, young people also have a keen sense of entitlement that is often quite staggering. I remember at school, everybody knew that education was the ticket to a better life and we didn't need teachers to tell us that we had to pass our exams or we would wind up recreating the lives of our parents. Young people these days genuinely seem to believe that they will be handed everything they want out of life without ever having to lift a finger, and all this when the economy is shot to pieces and opportunities have never been so scarce.
It makes me sad just thinking about the monumental disappointments that lots of young people have ahead of them. Their expectations are so unrealistically high whilst the idea of personal responsiblity is nonexistent. I really hope that these kids enjoy their big, fat, over the top prom because I fear that for a lot of them, the reality of life after school is going to have a sharp sting.