It has been a tough start for my eldest in Year One and I assumed it was because of the sudden disappearance of play from his educational existence. It turns out that was part of it, but just as horrifying for him has been that everyone is singing this:
Yes, that is right, the "Baby Shark" song.
"It is so annoying," he whinged, as I pressed play, prompting his younger siblings to launch into dance moves last seen in the video for Fatboy Slim's Praise You.
So I obviously googled it (sorry, knowledge-rich curriculum fans) and I learned that the song in its current form is a South Korean viral hit with 1,722,256,888 views and that it held an official chart position in the UK.
Clearly, I was very behind the times. Clearly, everyone knows about this already but me. I am a parent, though. It sort of goes with the job, right?
Baby Shark challenge
I googled further (sorry, again, Ofsted's Amanda Spielman) and discovered the song has a long history, possibly stretching back to the early 1900s. But this South Korean version in technicolour has launched it into the mainstream.
So were other schools suffering as my son's is? Is this, or has it been, the next dabbing, bottle flipping and flossing?
Usually, when we cover these fads, half the comments tell us we are way too late in covering it, while the other half ask us what the hell we are talking about. But I asked Twitter and it turned out the playgrounds of many a school have yet to reverberate to its exquisite melody.
I have just heard for the first time now ......... it could be HUGE in 2 weeks lol— Chris Dyson (@chrisdysonHT) 19 September 2018
A few had heard it in their schools, though.
We have this on at least once a day... one of our preverbal ASC children LOVES it; so it is used as a motivator... it has to be Pink Fong; nothing else will do. This, the Elmo song and finger family by Pancake Manor are the tunes that shape our days 😱😱 https://t.co/IsIgY6ECAy— Alex Seaford (@aly_sea) 19 September 2018
And a few adults had heard it, but were hoping the kids would not.
I'll take an hour of flossing over baby shark. Once that's in your head it never leaves. I'm going for 'Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night' tomorrow. I have standards.— Ed Finch (@MrEFinch) 19 September 2018
The above tweet from Chris Dyson, headteacher of Parklands Primary School in Leeds, took another tack. He decided to force it into his school consciousness by playing it to his pupils. I guess it is a bit like exposure therapy.
Dyson is a brave man. Whether the baby shark is in your school, has been and gone, or is soon to terrorise you, let's hope you are all as brave as Chris, however you choose to deal with it.
Me? I think you have to jump on board. Altogether now: Ba-by Shark, doo doo doo doo doo dooo...
Jon Severs is commissioning editor at Tes