I slowly make my way around my flat, moving from room to room, gradually getting ready for work, doing it in a mismatched order. While most people probably have breakfast and then shower and dress, or vice versa, eating breakfast after dressing, I find myself making breakfast after I shower, covered by two towels - one for my hair, and one for my body - before taking it to my bedroom with me to get dressed in between bites of toast. One sock on; a bite of toast; another sock on; another bite of toast. I quickly put my bra and pants on, before sitting down intending to pull my trousers on but end up eating my toast in silence while scrolling through my phone, the thought of the day ahead running through my mind, because of all the days to get to work on time, this is the most important one. Which begs the question, why exactly am I sat here like I have all the time in the world to get ready?
Simple. I can never be asked to sort myself out in a timely manner (who can at half past seven in the morning?) and today it seems is no different, despite knowing I should be making the extra effort to be ready earlier than normal so I can get to work earlier than normal. Why, you might ask. What is so special about today compared to all the other days in the year?
Again, simple. Today, half-way through July, marks the day that always makes an appearance just before the summer holidays for all, if not most, schools. A day that really is all about the children, to make that transition to the next year slightly easier on them. But at the age the children are that I work with, I find this a little pointless. Secondary school age children don't necessarily need a transfer day before the new year - some children maybe, if they have additional needs, or the ones that are moving up to the first year of secondary school, but not all of them.
Although for this, I can make an exception just this once, given that I also have to get used to a new teacher myself, who will no doubt have new ways of dealing with behaviour when needed and will have his own ways of teaching. Will he be the kind of teacher who will have more banter with the children than being stern? Will he be the kind of teacher who never takes any shit from anyone and the children actually listen to, when they misbehave? Will he be the kind of teacher I can actually talk to and not feel scared to go and double check instructions with, rather than going with whatever my gut tells me the instruction was, because I was only half-listening to my colleague?
I sigh heavily as I close Facebook to scroll through Twitter just as aimlessly, knowing I should check the time because I no doubt have about five minutes before I absolutely have to leave to walk to work in order to get there early enough to meet this new teacher, so I'm not a newbie to the whole thing as well as the children. It's at this point I realise my hair is still twisted on top of my head inside the towel.
"Shit! Now it's going to be half-dry and it won't sit straight after I dry it so now I'll have to wear it up." I mutter to myself, a usual trait of mine when I'm annoyed this way.
I drop my phone onto the bed beside me to yank the fluffy casing from my scalp. I throw that into the already overflowing basket of dirty clothes and shake my hair out letting it fall in a semi-dry tangled mess around my face. I grab my brush, taking less care than usual to brush it all out into a helpful smooth state for drying properly. I glance at my beside clock several times, mentally trying to make my hair dryer speed up so I actually have time to get dressed before leaving the house - nothing more inappropriate than turning up to a school in your underwear.
As the clock reaches one-minute past eight, I am out the door and running down the path while brushing my hair into a high ponytail on the way. Seriously, thank God for self-locking doors on flats.
I enter the staff room to the cheeriest hello I ever get from anyone at work. I look over mid-way through taking my phone from my bag to see Kelly, sat at her usual little round table sipping on a coffee. Again, no surprise there. She doesn't keep it a secret at all that she needs a coffee to function in the morning, otherwise forget it, everyone and everything completely.
"Morning." I reply while quickly checking my phone, to see as suspected, absolutely nothing. But then what do I expect, when the few friends I do have, I only communicate with when something needs to be said or an overdue catch up is needed (some friends would never dream of that but that's the way we like it and it works for us, and even though we text so little, our friendship stays as strong as ever and as if there was never a break in speaking). I also have no boyfriend, and no chance of getting one anytime soon, so why would there be any message on my phone? A girl can dream, I suppose.
I chuck my phone in my bag and close it, knowing I should be heading to class to see if this new teacher is here yet so I can try to get to know him a little, given all I do know is his name: Aiden Smith. Or Mr. Smith as I will have to call him when there are children around, which will be a lot easier than calling him by his first name when I am in the staff room or on the off chance I see him outside of work. I vaguely call a yeah back as Kelly wishes me a good day, determined to not be my usual nervous wreck when meeting new people.
It'll be fine. We'll introduce ourselves, chat a little about the day and maybe he'll ask me questions about the rules for the school which will be fine - I can talk about that. Then before I know it, the children will be here, and I'll be in total work mode; almost the complete opposite to everyday me.
I walk into the class marked The West End - all the classrooms are named after theatres, buildings or places relating to the field the classroom is used for. So, this being one of three drama rooms, the other two named Broadway and The Globe Theatre. The walls of the classrooms, underneath the displays are decorated to represent those places as accurately as possible.
As I walk in, the chairs are arranged in a large circle and a tightly covered backside connected to long, slim legs come into my field of vision as they rummage in some kind of box or bag resting on the small stage at the back of the classroom.
So as not to startle them by just walking up and saying hello, I knock gently on the open door, resting one hand on the edge of it so it doesn't move from my actions. I wait for the figure to turn around and show his face before smiling politely.
"Hi." I give a small wave, unsure as to why and quickly put my hands by my side. "I'm Megan." I walk forward a few steps to slightly close the gap between us as he smiles back.
"Aiden." He offers his hand and I take it, kind of glad that on first look, he doesn't seem the type of guy I'd go for. The last thing I need this year is falling for the guy I'm going to spend ninety-nine percent of my time with. "So, you must be my helping hand for the year."
I hold up my hands as if being held at gun point. "Guilty." I let out a little laugh which I soon regret. "Is there anything I can help you with?"
"I think I'm all set up here, actually, but there is one thing I wouldn't mind a heads up on."
"Fire away." I gesture for him to go ahead.
"Are there any students I should be immediately aware of?"
Despite his seriousness in asking, I try to lighten the mood by smiling as I respond. "It'll be obvious the minute they walk through that door." He offers a smile, but I can't tell if he really gets my sense of humour or not - maybe he isn't a jokey kind of guy. Maybe he is more reserved than that?
"To be honest, they are all great. A few behaviour issues here and there, but then what else is new?" He chuckles again, a little bit more sincere that a few seconds ago. Maybe we will get along just fine after all. "As for the first years, I have never met them, so your guess is as good as mine. Just hope they are better behaved than the current first years."
"That bad?" He raises an eyebrow and folds his arms.
I try to ignore the slight butterflies in my stomach at his expression when he does so. "Well, half of the year are a dream - the other half vary depending on many things. To be honest all of them are lovely really, some of them more so when they have one-to-one attention, but some of them do not mix well - guess that's nothing new either. But, you'll only teach about fifteen of them at a time. The other's will be spilt into the other two classes," I look at him wondering why I am saying that. "I'm sure you knew that already." I shake my head as he stifles a smile. "Anyway, which year group do we have first today?"
I return to the classroom five minutes before the end of lunch, surprised to see Aiden still in there, smiling at his carefree sitting position: on a chair; his feet on the stage crossed over one another - not at all the stance I ever imagined him in. Not that I could have imagined him sitting in any way shape or form having only just met him.
I clear my throat, not wanting to startle him too much, only noticing the guitar in his hands when he turns to face me. My breath catches in my throat. The last thing I need is to work with someone who plays the fucking guitar! Because generally if you play the guitar, then you sing as well.
So, this guy can act, sing and play instruments? Well, just the one instrument so far. This is just asking for trouble. I can't be the only one who finds a guy much more attractive if he plays the guitar. What am I going to have deal with this year?
"Hey!" He places the guitar on the stage and almost leaps to his feet, like he is happy to see me. Is it completely crazy for me to think that? "How was your lunch?"
"A lot less lonely than yours, I think." I smile. "But a lot less musical too." I nod towards the guitar laid on its side.
"Oh yeah, I was just playing around with some chords - nothing special." He moves forward a few paces, unnerving me slightly but stops between the two chairs just in front of me and rests his hands on them. "I wanted some quiet time to hopefully write a new song, but nothing came to me."
"You write you own songs?" I know I sound more surprised than I expected to, and it shows when he laughs.
"Yeah - they're not exactly number one hits but it's become quite the hobby for me."
"So, do I get to hear one of these songs someday?" I don't know where the flirty side is coming from, but I can't help it. Apparently he brings it out in me, even after just a few hours together.
"Maybe, but not today." He smirks and the bell sounds as I go to respond. "Anyway, time to meet these newbies to the school."
I instantly smile. "You're a newbie too, remember."
He moves forward and stands close to me. "Then, I guess you'll have an extra student to keep an eye on this afternoon." He leans in more, closer to my ear, making me wonder what the hell he is doing. "Think you can handle it?" He raises his eyebrows and smiles, as my heart jumps at how low his voice was.
I get the feeling that may be an expression he uses on me a lot this year. The children start to line up before I can say anything more, and he is straight into teacher mode as if that moment never happened. It's official: I'm in trouble this year.
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