Curls of smoke are spiraling above. Eyes are staring at the ceiling piercing it through was the only way to behold the drama the sky beyond had staged. The body is sprawled on a chair supported by the elbows as if they were the backbone.
Mr X shakes me by the shoulders. It is time to go to my next class. Reluctantly, I heave myself up, drag my body to the classroom and my mind away from pitiful soliloquy.
No. The soliloquy continues.
Why should I teach the ungrateful wretches? Why should I labour at all? Learning is just not their domain. Not even the best teacher can succeed. No prejudice, please.
Learning is just not their domain. Yet how insolent they are! My lessons are great moments of revelry for these little devils. Every day I feel I have become immune. But practice proves I am far from Nirvana. The more serious I am, the more uproarious they become. The angrier I am, the more rebellious they are. Why, the other day half the class was as usual chattering, throwing paper balls, engaged in a friendly exchange of insults to the point of exhaustion. A few were looking into the street commenting on the passers-by. When with difficulty I managed to draw their attention to what was supposed to be happening in the classroom, each one was furious like an irate officer who considered his subordinate’s entry into his office an intrusion, and they threatened to stage a walkout. Neither the subject nor me interested them. What have these urchins come to school for? I wouldn’t be surprised if these devils were wondering: “What else does the old man (me!) think we have come to school for?” How glad parents must be to be relieved of bother for another few hours. How amusing it must be to them to imagine somebody else being the prey!
As I approach the class, I anticipate the usual tumult and animation. Surprisingly (or disappointingly, I really don’t know) everything is quiet. Not so much as a drop of a pencil or a whisper. The class is dead. It can’t be! Have they come to their senses? How comforting it would be! There is something definitely wrong, my instinct warns me. Do they for a change intend to please me? How gratifying it would be!
I opened the door gently as though in response to the deathly silence. With a bang the realization comes. I reel and stagger, support myself against the wall lest I break my neck. The class is empty.
Next thing I know I have dropped myself in a chair. Between me and the mother earth, the chair was the only impediment. Oh, no, the cemented floor, too! What should I do? Could they be playing ‘hide and seek’? For only the other day, I had taught the expression. Was I supposed to search among the thickets, bushes and treetops? Should I wait for them expecting them en masse? Or should I sit out the whole period as if the brats had behaved themselves? Where could they have disappeared within minutes? Perhaps Mr. B didn’t engage them during the previous period. They must have taken the morning off. They know I’ll understand. They have given me that, I say with pride. Or could they have played truant? If they have, this is the last straw.
The situation is unique. No teacher had had such an experience. At least not reportedly! For all I know, they may have had it on the quiet. Oh, if only I could know!
The school had had no precedent; no rule had been framed to deal with such a situation, So my reporting to the HM would be futile. Even if punishment were possible, what could he do? He is but an ass, bites or kicks. His bite is as bad (or as good!) as his bark, and he takes pride in that.
If I told him, I would only be perjuring myself. He would blame it all on me, my incompetence and lack of common sense (he happily forgets he has none). As if the bad-for-everything offsprings of good-for-nothing parents were gems and I the only black sheep. As if my motivation lacked essence to hold them in class. He would vomit out with a knowing air the different ways of motivation. He might even humiliate me in front of these wicked souls. He has always hated me, only God knows why. He loses no time to mock, belittle, deride. And if I went to him, I would be only handing it to him on a platter. How he would capitalize!
How do the other teachers fare with this bunch? They must have had their share of trouble and worry, too, or will these devils have singled me out? I have my doubts. Naturally!