"Hi Ms Swan!" Adam said, his loud voice causing people to turn and stare as he ambled towards me. He made a moveto take my bag but I took a step back, trying to cover it up by pretending to stumble. To my misfortune, this didn'tseem to deter him."Um, hello Adam, good Christmas?" I asked, distractedly, looking over my shoulder for an escape route."Oh sure, me and the guys went snowboarding, it was AW-esome," he rattled on earnestly, his words dissolving intomush in my brain. I faintly registered the use of the vernacular and idly thought how the language nowadays was somuch more unattractive than the formal speech of the early 1900s, then scolded myself. It was worrying how great aneffect that one short dream had had on me.I interrupted Adam, deciding that it was time to make my getaway. "That's great, but I've got to go and talk to, uh," Iracked my brains for a plausible teacher and decided the one whose office was as far away as possible, "Dr Takagi, soI'll see you later." I gave what I hoped would pass for a smile and fled, almost tripping up the steps as I went."Yeah," Adam called after me, "first period in 12E!" I didn't reply but dove through the nearest door, shaking my headin disbelief as I went. What
it with me and over-enthusiastic teenage boys? And how come they never seemed toget the message that I was really not as interesting as they made me out to be?These musings preoccupied me until I reached the staff room, and to my deep relief I was not accosted by any morepubescent admirers. As I walked into the large, beige coloured staff room however, I managed to twist my ankle anddrop my bag on my feet, much to the amusement of several maths teachers standing nearby. Irate, I picked up mythings and made my way to the kitchen.
Screw the caffeine,
I thought to myself,
I seriously need a coffee.
To my dismay, homeroom eventually came to an end, and I was forced to leave the relative safety of the staffroomand brave the jungle that was the hallways. I glanced at my timetable and realised that Adam had been correct- myfirst class was indeed in Block 12. That was about a five minute walk away, seven if I counted congestion and snowballdodging into my route. I poured myself another cup of coffee- in for a penny, in for a pound- and exited the loungehastily, before I could be told off for removing school crockery.The journey was, thankfully, without impediment- unless you counted the breaking up of one fight, the prevention of throwing snowballs
and redirecting a confused freshman when she tried to attend her biology class in the janitor’s closet while several 'helpful' sophomores snickered from behind her.When I finally made it to 12E I found half of my class already present, changing seats and lounging on desks as theyflirted, swapped post-holiday gossip and took photographs of each other on their cell phones. There was still fiveminutes to go until the official start of class, so I let them be while I sorted out my materials for the lesson. We werestarting
'Pride and Prejudice'
today and, provided we moved through it fast enough, we were going to progress to'
in a matter of weeks. Six years ago, I would not have been able to read my most favourite of Austen andBröntes' novels without descending into tears. Now however, I felt nothing but a slight pang in my empty chest-uncomfortable but bearable.I dug deep into my bag to find the sheets of paper I was planning on handing out to the class and as I rummaged, myelbow hit my bag. "Crap," I cursed as one of my folders fell to the floor, the entirety of its contents splaying across thelino. I walked around the desk and bent down, coffee still in hand, to gather up the paper."I'll help you Ms Swan!" an eager voice called out, and I looked up to see Adam again. I hadn't noticed him enter theroom and felt a flash of irritation."No Adam, I'm fine tha-" I protested, but to no avail. He ignored me, vaulting over his desk with the kind of energyonly a teenage boy possesses first thing on a Monday morning.
He really is like Mike
, I thought to myself, as Iwatched him collect up my papers with so much enthusiasm that he knocked my cup of coffee out of my hand.
Or perhaps he's a bit more like me.
I winced as the mug landed with a smash on the floor… right at the feet of a manwho had just appeared in the doorway.A series of laughs and whistles erupted from the class, as their eyes flicked from my irritated expression to Adam'smortified one. I sighed. What a way to start the semester.The man in the doorway cleared his throat and I looked up to see Patrick Delaney standing there. An almostexhaustingly dedicated teacher, Patrick had been my mentor for my first couple of months of teaching and, despitebeing nearly a decade older than me, we had struck up a sort of friendship. This year, he had been assignedresponsibility for the entire junior class- no mean feat, considering that it currently contained over 600 students.