I massaged my temples.
Forcing my eyes open was a difficult task; my frequent late nights and my desperate attempts at preserving my social life was the main reason, not forgetting the piles of school work I am forced to carefully mark.
As I ran through the class schedule for what seemed like the tenth time, the familiar backstabbing and laughter crept in through the gaps in the classroom door, and as usual I was forced to listen to what they really thought about me.
“Can you believe we have her AGAIN?!”
“We’re not going to learn anything this year!”
I squeezed my eyes shut, reminding myself that they were idiots. From what I’ve been told I’m not such a bad teacher. I suppose.
I inhaled deeply, and then exhaled with a sigh. I rose to my feet and sauntered to the door with confidence.
“Shut up unless you want a detention with The Thing.” A familiar voice sniggered as I opened the door. Ella stood with complete wide-eyed innocence as I stared her down.
She was nowhere near as sly as she thought she was.
“I want silence when you line up for my lessons,” I reminded, hating myself from how much my voice shook. “We wouldn’t want to start off the year with detention, do we?”
My gaze moved along line of students in what I hoped was the most threatening way possible, and then stopped at Ella – the student who dared give me an equally intimidating stare.
It pretty much told me everything I needed to know; she was going to make this year hell for me.
“I’ve arranged a seating plan,” I announced, chewing my bottom lip when I was followed by mumbles of complaint. “And students shouldn’t be talking without permission,” I added.
I waited a few seconds for silence then allowed them in.
As I approached my desk, I closed my eyes, silently praying that for once one of my lessons would go to plan. I held my breath as the class examined the seating arrangement; I couldn’t please everyone – surely they knew that?
“Great.” Ella muttered. Her voice was significantly louder than the others. “Looks like I’m by myself this year.”
Well I’m sorry I didn’t take your “important” preferences into my consideration I thought to myself.
The lesson started just like any other, with the class writing down whatever they knew about the topic we’d be studying. Through my many teaching courses, I’ve learnt that this is an excellent way to get students to brainstorm and to motivate them to learn.
As I walked around the class, I was pleased to see that almost all the class seemed interested in what they were doing, and were busy scribbling away in their books. I smiled to myself.
But unsuprisingly, in the corner of my eye I spotted the one person that had not got on with her work, but instead had turned around, preparing herself to throw, from the looks of it… a pair of scissors.
Did Year Elevens really act like this?
My lips trembled. How on earth was I going to discipline this girl?
I breathed deeply, preparing myself for the unavoidable uproar which would surely follow afters. Then yelled, “You do NOT throw scissors along the classroom!”
The scissors skidded across the floor.
“I wasn’t going to anyway,” Ella sighed as she rolled her eyes. She glared at another class member and smirked, “Andrew was annoying me.”
“Did I ask for an explanation?”
“Then get on with your work,” I interrupted. Ella’s constant excuses and manipulation was exhausting.
“I’m sorry… but what work?”
What was she talking about!?
My eyebrows narrowed.” The paragraph. About homeostasis.”
“I don’t know anything about it,” Ella smirked.
My fists shook, unable to control by hatred towards this idiot. “Well that’s too bad isn’t it?” I couldn’t help but remark.
I looked forward to her shock once her slow brain had registered what I had said. But instead she replied, “Well at this rate I won’t be learning anything this year.”
There was silence.
I forced myself to stop shaking and remain calm, whilst I tried to think of how a sensible teacher would respond to such an insult.
School children just didn’t realise how much work teachers put into their job, only to hear thoughtless insults thrown at us almost every day.
It was just too much for me to bear.
“Ella,” I said, in a surprisingly calm voice, “can I speak to you outside?”
But Ella simply snorted. “Pfft! I’m alright!” She laughed cruelly, “stuff Biology!”
She stood up and shoved her desk forwards, causing stationary to scatter across the desk. The door slammed shut but the class could still hear the stream of curses that followed afterwards. They giggled.
I collapsed back onto my chair in defeat, longing for the ground to swallow me up, so that the class didn’t see my obvious frustration… or even worse, my disappointment.
I couldn’t even last a lesson without messing things up. And having her as a student didn’t exactly make it easy for me.