Quarter to Three

I glance up from my book and scan the rows of zit-infested faces, occupying the poorly lit classroom. Some of the girls stare vacantly out the window, distracted by the year 11 boys playing rugby on the field. Others doodle lazily in their textbooks or watch the wall clock with hawk like attention. I follow their gaze and groan inwardly. Quarter to three. Still another fifteen minutes to endure. Joy upon joy. I consider ending the class early. Neither of us wants to be here. They are blatantly more interested in video games and smoking as opposed to algebra. It is clearly evident in their faces. But I can’t do this and for two good reasons. One: I will most likely get collared by the headmaster and receive an earful about my teaching methods. This wouldn’t be so bad if it was a one time occurrence but I had finished classes early before. Not to mention the fact that my reputation among the other teachers was at an all time low due to my minor breakdown two years ago. Two: If I let them go now then I lose what little dominance I have over them as teacher. Next time it will be ‘sir can we go half an hour early?’ and then forty-five minutes until eventually they won’t even turn up at all. I wonder if it is worth doing something dramatic like jumping on top of my desk or breaking into song. Just to provoke a reaction from the class that might inspire them into doing some work. Knowing my luck I would fall off the desk or demonstrate a pathetic attempt at trying to sing. Who am I kidding anyway? I have nothing in common with these kids. They might as well be an alien species with their new fangled IPods and lip piercings. I find my attention drawn to a pink haired girl sitting two rows back. She has several piercings including a nose one and a lip one. She glances up at me, catching my lingering stare and blows a bubblegum bubble until it pops. I look away hurriedly, not in the mood for confrontation. My attention is drawn back to the clock. One minutes to three. I look back at the class and can see the desperation in their eyes. They are hungry, eager for the long awaited freedom that lies on the other side of the door. Then something happens that nearly makes me fall back of my chair in surprise. A tentative hand rises from the back of the classroom. I stare, mouth agape, paralyzed by the shock of actually having an attentive student present in my class. My class? The last time that happened I was a lot younger with a lot more hair.


‘Yes.’ I reply and clear my throat, unused to straining my vocal chords.


The student, a young boy with a mop of dusty hair goes to speak but is drowned out by the shrill ring of the afternoon bell. I curse at the bad timing and watch on helplessly as the class hastily begins to pack up. I try to call out to the mop haired boy but the scraping of the chairs and the general clatter and noise of the class overpower me. I stagger to my feet and manage to grab hold of the mop haired boy’s arm before he is dragged into the swift current of students streaming out the door.


‘What was your question?’ I gasp with a slightly overeager smile.


‘Oh, doesn’t matter now.’ He replies and disappears out the door.


I return to my desk crestfallen and sink into my chair, my whole frame sagging beneath me. I glance at the pile of textbooks on my table and groan. Great! Now the joys of marking to occupy me for the next hour and a half. My day just keeps getting better and better.

© [Daniel Ashby] and [Ashby Tales], [2014]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Daniel Ashby] and [Ashby Tales] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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