“Oh darling do you really have to go? You know how much I’ll miss you.” I say.
I hate it whenever Judy has to go away for work. It wasn’t like it was for a week, it was 6 months! The joys of being an actress she says. Still her money pays the bills, I just carry on teaching because I enjoy it so much. I couldn’t even think of retiring right now!
My first day as a fully qualified teacher. I’m excited but nervous. What if the kids don’t like me? What if I couldn’t control the class? I take a deep breath. Come on Amy you can do this.
I get in my car and put some music on. Good old ELO! I can always rely on Jeff and the gang to cheer me up. I turn the volume up full blast and start singing along. Then I don’t feel so nervous any more. I can do this.
“Oh Mike, I’ll miss you too but the months will fly by! Besides, you’ll be busy at work anyway. Start of a new term and all. You’ve got that new girl starting today haven’t you?” Says Judy.
“Yes, newly qualified so I’m taking her under my wing. Not sure what to expect!” I say.
Judy puts her hand on my face and smiles.
“Well I’m sure you’ll be brilliant with her. Your wealth of experience will really help her!” says Judy.
The traffic seems more busy than usual but I don’t mind. I’m too busy enjoying the music! I hope Mr Preston is nice, the Head Teacher of the school. I had heard good things about him, he’d mentored many a new teacher over the years. He knows more about teaching than anyone. Fingers crossed he doesn’t think my methods of teaching are too modern…
“Anyway my dear, I have to go. I’ll phone you when I get there!”
She kisses me goodbye and gets into the taxi. I did want to take her to the airport but she doesn’t want me to be late on my first day back at work after the summer holidays. I go back into the house and pick up the books and documents I need for the working day, put them on the passenger seat and head for work.
When I reach the traffic lights, I can see a bright purple car waiting to turn right, towards the school. The driver seems to be enjoying herself, I hear the music from here! Sounds like ELO? I have to admit the girl has taste. She is singing her heart out to whatever song is playing. I can’t help but smile. Before I know it, she turns into the road and I’m still stuck on red.
I manage to park okay at the school and head for reception. The receptionist looks to be in her mid-60s, definitely ready to retire! She glances up from her desk and examines me, scans me up and down. Well she seems a delight…
“Yes, can I help you?” She says coldly.
She probably thinks I’m one of the parents…
“Yes, I’m the new teacher, Miss Fairbourne?” I say.
Her demeanour changes, she starts to smile. Maybe she just doesn’t like dealing with parents? I suppose they can be a pain from time to time.
“Oh yes of course, now Mr Preston hasn’t arrived yet. He should be here soon though so if you’d like to wait in his office and when he gets here I’ll let him know you’re here.” She says with a smile.
“Oh lovely, thank you. Where is Mr Preston’s office?”
“Turn right, carry on a little bit and it’s on your left.” She says.
I eventually find his office and I’m impressed by how organised and tidy it is. All the paperwork in the relevant folders, a bookcase, on the desk it has school pictures of his kids and a picture of his wife. I look again at the photo. I know her face! Wow Mr Preston married an actress! I think her name is Judith Earnshaw? Very good actress actually. He must be loaded!
I get into school just about on time, hope the new teacher hasn’t been waiting too long for me! Better go and find out…
I scan through the titles of the books he has in the bookcase. The typical classics such as David Copperfield, Ulysses, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream my favourite Shakespeare play. He certainly has good taste!
“Good morning Mr Preston.” Says Mrs Turner.
“Morning Mrs Turner, good holiday?”
“Yes it was good to get some sun on the skin! You?”
“Well I joined Judy for a few days in Italy whilst she was on a break from filming. Has the new teacher shown up yet?”
“Oh yes, I sent her to your room. She hasn’t been waiting long!”
“Oh great, thanks Mrs Turner!”
I don’t know what I was expecting Mr Preston to look like but he certainly isn’t the fuddy duddy I imagined. His hair is black (definitely dyed!) though you could see small tints of grey, his expression warm and welcoming, his eyes a hazel colour. He definitely dresses like a Head Teacher, he wears a shirt and tie, sweatshirt on top and a tweed jacket, showing his age.
She’s sat there ever so proper with her pencil skirt, white blouse and blazer. She turns round and I realise she’s the girl I saw singing in the car. I didn’t see her face properly before because the car windows were slightly tinted. Her hair is medium length, brown in colour and wavy. Like she’d just come back from a walk on the beach. Sun kissed. Her eyes a dazzling chocolate colour with a tint of green. Bloody hell she’s beautiful.
I feel at ease when I see him. I think I’m going to learn a lot from him…
He shuts the door behind him and smiles.
“Hello, you must be the new teacher, I’m Mr Preston, Head Teacher but you can call me Mike.” He says.
“Hi Michael, you don’t mind if I call you that? Michael’s such a nice name as well. I’m Miss Fairbourne, Amelia Fairbourne but most people call me Amy.” I say.
I couldn’t think of the last time I’d been called Michael, probably when I’d done something wrong! She’s different, it didn’t sound wrong when she said Michael. Her voice is intelligent and seductive, it draws me in. God what am I saying? She’s old enough to be my daughter! I hardly know anything about her. I have to be professional.
I swear he blushed slightly when I compliment his name. I bet he gets called Mike by everyone, would be a nice change for him.
“Since most people call you Amy then I’ll call you Amelia.”
Amelia, Amelia, like a name in a fairy-tale or am I just quoting Doctor Who? Pretty just like her. I’ve never felt this way about a woman since I’ve been with Judy. She was special then work got in the way for both of us and distance became a barrier. Suppose that’s what 25 years of marriage does to you, you become complacent, you don’t make the effort as much anymore. There’s still a small spark between us but we don’t have fun like we used to.
She flushes when I call her Amelia, like me I don’t think she’s used to being called by her full name!
“Oh okay, that’s fine!”
“Right let’s get down to business! For this school year, I’m gonna start you off with the Reception Class. The kids in there are reasonably well- behaved so nice and easy for you. Have you got much experience in that year?”
“A little bit yes, I mostly had placements in Key Stage 1.”
“Well I’m sure you’ll be fine. So what I’m going to do is for the first couple of weeks is observe your teaching just to see where you are now. Then every Friday after school we’ll have a meeting to discuss how you’re finding it, evaluate your teaching such as what you’re doing well and what you can do to improve. I’m also interested in how you plan lessons and how you deal with troublesome kids.”
He gives me a document. Looks a little bulky but I’m sure it’s important.
“This is a document detailing the curriculum for Reception children. Plan your lessons around this but don’t bombard the children with too much information. Kids of that age don’t have a very high attention span! Make learning fun, that’s the most important part.”
I’m looking forward to observing her lessons, I’m intrigued what her lesson style is like. I can imagine her being fun but firm. She’s listening so intently to everything I’m saying. I’m surprised she isn’t taking notes! She obviously wants to make sure everything goes perfect today. She must be so nervous poor thing.
“Right I think that’s everything so I’ll show you to your classroom, the kids should be arriving soon! How you feeling about it?”
“Want me to be honest? I’m bloody terrified but I’m looking forward to it. It’s my dream job and I’m grateful you’re willing to mentor me.” She says with a smile.
He has this way of calming me down, maybe it’s the tone of his voice, patient and understanding that makes me feel more confident. More importantly he makes me smile and it had been a few years since a man has done that…
Her smile is infectious, like a ray of sunshine. The kids will love her, I just know it. She’s got a certain charm to her character, I can’t put my finger on it. All I know is that I want to get to know her better.
“That’s okay Amelia, I’m always here to help. Many years ago I was in the exact same shoes as you, who knows? In a few years time you could be the Head Teacher of this very school, once I’ve retired of course which won’t be any time soon!” I say with a wink.
Mr Preston leads me to the classroom, it already feels like I belong. I imagine all the fun sessions I would be having with the children. Teaching them arithmetic, reading, writing, art, history, all the subjects I loved at school when I was their age. The only thing I wasn’t looking forward to was teaching P.E. Hated it with a passion when I was at school. Except when we played Badminton or went swimming.
“I’ll just sit at the back of the classroom, you won’t even know I’m there!” said Mr Preston.
The kids come in and are very welcoming towards her. A bit energetic but it’s to be expected on the first day back.
The kids soon come in and though they seem very hyper, they are pleasant enough. Although Mr Preston had given me details of the correct curriculum for reception kids, I already had a good amount of knowledge on what they should be learning. I first introduce myself and then get the whole class to say their names and their hobbies.
I can tell straight away that the kids love her. They listen to what she’s telling them with great interest and is praising and correcting the kids in the appropriate way. There isn’t really much I could tell her to improve on. To be truthful, sometimes it’s hard not to be taken in by her extraordinary beauty. God damn it Mike pull yourself together, you’re married for God’s sake…
I start off with a fairly easy lesson of learning basic maths and writing skills. I can see in the corner of my eye Mr Preston making some detailed notes. Is that a good thing? I just carry on as normal.
She really has the makings of a great teacher. I just wish I could find out more about her personally. I know she’s into ELO but what are her other interests? Does she have a boyfriend? With her magnetic personality and beauty, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s got one… What are her family like? So many questions, I couldn’t ask her too many questions about her personal life, don’t want her to get the wrong idea…
Considering it’s the first day of term, the kids seem eager to learn and I follow Mr Preston’s advice of not loading their brains with too much information.
It’s after the children have had their lunch that they may prove a bit of a challenge for her but I’ll see how she copes. I just worry that they’ll be too much for her and she won’t know what to do about it. Don’t want her panicking… Wow I didn’t know I cared so much about her.
Course I care about my staff, especially if they’re new to the job. I’m a helpful person.
Lunch soon came and I’m worried about how Mr Preston was finding my teaching. I want to make a good impression.
“You’re doing really well so far. How about you have lunch with me in my office and we can discuss things a bit more?”
“That sounds great!”
“So how did you find your first morning as a teacher?”
“Oh I loved it! The kids were very well behaved! I think they like me!”
“I think they do too. Though don’t expect them to be so well behaved once they come back from lunch!”
“Oh no, I know kids get very hyper after eating food. I’ll sort them out if they get cheeky.” Amelia says with a wink.
“I’m sure you will. Anyway what does Amelia Fairbourne do in her spare time?”
“Do housework, go out with friends to the pub and occasionally go on nights out. What about you?”
“Oh I’m a boring old fart really, the kids are grown up so they do their own thing and Judy’s away working, so most of the time I’m doing work, watching the television, might occasionally go to the pub.”
“Aw Michael you need to get out more, as much as having your own space is good, you’ll drive yourself mad if you’re in your own company too much, that’s what it gets like for me sometimes.”
“So you live in that house on your own?”
“Yeah been living there for about six months now. The house is lovely enough but I just wish it was a nicer area. Now since I’ve got this job that pays a lot more, I’m hoping to move to a different area. Preferably somewhere that’s closer to the school.”
“So is it a bit of a distance to get to work every day?”
“Takes about half an hour or so depending on traffic really. I don’t mind the journey too much.”
“I suppose a bit of ELO can make the journey a lot more bearable right?” He said with a smirk.
“How do you—oh you saw me singing in the car this morning didn’t you?”
I go bright red. A good first impression to make Amy, not.
She looks so cute when she blushes. I have this urge to comfort her, tell her that I found it funny, it’s one of those traits that I find attractive. Oh god I can’t say that! It’s not appropriate.
“Well it certainly made my morning! I was impressed by your knowledge of ELO because of your young age. How old are you if you don’t mind me asking?”
“25. Yeah I like a lot of old music stuff like The Beatles, Kate Bush and David Bowie. I feel I was born in the wrong era, it’s down to my parents, they’re probably about your age. Since you asked me how old I was, how old are you?”
In some ways I don’t want to tell her my age, she might think I’m really old. Oh get over yourself Mike, what makes you think she’d ever be interested in you? Why am I even contemplating this? I’m a married man! Though most of the time I don’t feel married, my wife spends most of the year filming. I’m surprised she even still loves me, she only spends half the year with me…
“I’m 48, my kids are a bit younger than you, Tom’s 22, hasn’t long graduated from uni and Leah has just turned 18. They’re great kids, I’m very proud of them.”
“Yes I thought you were proud of them, your desk has got their pictures on them. You must be proud of your wife too, her being an actress and all.”
His age sort of surprises me, to me he only looks in his early forties. Maybe he moisturises really well!
I’m surprised she even knows who Judy is, Judy wasn’t a really famous actress, she was known more for her television work. Though all this filming she was doing lately was hopefully going to help her break into the film industry.
Can’t believe I’m having to coax Michael to talk about his wife! I sense some marital strife… It must be tough for him her being away a lot. He really needs some company. Maybe I should take him out somewhere? Or would that be weird? I mean he’s old enough to be my dad… I just can’t help but feel sorry for him.
“Oh yeah I’m very proud, just wish I saw her more. I like ambition in a woman of course but I dunno, I get so lonely sometimes.”
“Don’t worry I feel the same. I won’t bore you with all the details but I used to live with my ex in the house I’m in now and he was working away a lot and no matter how much I texted him or phoned him, it didn’t make the situation any easier. Anyway that wasn’t the reason we broke up.”
I sense something dark in her past. I’m intrigued but I can’t pressure her to talk to me about it. She’s obviously not ready to open up to me yet. After all, only when the personal conflicts with work it’s a cause for concern.
I wasn’t quite ready to tell Michael about what happened with Jack, all the emotions were still raw. Besides which, I hardly know the man. But I did want to be there for him, when he was feeling lonely. I didn’t want to say this to Michael but I suspected Judith’s reason for being away so much isn’t just down to filming commitments… He really deserves better.
“Well as long as you’re happy now, that’s all that matters. Must be hard running a household on your own though.”
“Yes especially when my job wasn’t very well paid. I worked mostly part time and had to ask for overtime too. Oh well that’s exes for you…”
The poor girl really has been through so much, I hope no man ever treats her like that again. She deserves so much better…
It’s nice when someone really listens to what you’ve got to say, he’s such a sweet man. He’s so easy to talk to.
“I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through that, hopefully you’ll find someone who really appreciates you.”
Why do I want that person to be me? Do I really think that low of my marriage? I don’t know, I just have this uncontrollable urge to protect her from harm. Though I get the feeling, she doesn’t need much protecting. I think she can fight her own corner if necessary…
“Maybe, one day.”
Lunch soon finished and I’m dreading the state the kids will come back in. They are evidently full of beans but I can handle them. I carry on with some more basic maths and set some work solving some word problems.
After a few minutes of setting the work, I can see one of the kids is struggling.
“You okay there Bella?”
“No Miss, I don’t know what to do with this question.”
“That’s okay, now let’s have a look at this question.”
I see how helpful and patient she’s being with one of the children. She really was born to be a teacher…
I felt quite proud that I helped little Bella, I can see maths is going to be a struggle for her. Well I never found maths very easy…
“Right class, now if you put your workbooks at the end of your table, I’ll collect them in at the end. We’re gonna end today with a nice story!”
“Urgh I hate stories!” pipes up one child.
“What is it that you don’t like about stories Matthew?”
Oh no we’ve got an opinionated child, how’s Amelia going to deal with this?
Ah there’s always one… Time to give this little smartarse a lecture in the importance of reading…
“Do you know how important it is to learn how to read? Reading helps you understand how to do something, improves your imagination, if you can’t read you’ll find it very difficult to get a job in the future…”
“I suppose so Miss.” Matthew says grudgingly.
I have a small smirk on my face that certainly shut him up!
I was right about her being able to defend herself! Oh she’s adorable, what a remarkable young woman.
I read the kids a story and they all really enjoy it, even Matthew did! I can’t believe how fast the day has gone and it’s gone pretty perfectly!
“You did really well today Amelia even when you had a mouthy child! You handled that brilliantly. You really have a way with children. I’m very proud of you.”
She goes bright red again. For someone who gives the impression she’s very confident, she gets embarrassed really easily. It’s kinda cute.
Why does he make me blush so much? Maybe I’m not used to so many compliments. I’ve never met a man like him.
“Thank you Michael, I’m really pleased how today has gone. It’s gone better than I anticipated!”
We start walking towards the car park. In some ways I didn’t want to leave her, we’d both be going back to our shared loneliness.
“Well don’t expect it to be like that every day! Teaching is certainly a rollercoaster!”
“I gathered that but I can deal with the ride!” Amy says with a wink.
I rummage through my handbag and find my car keys.
“I love the colour of your car Amelia, certainly suits your personality!”
“Thanks, haven’t had her very long but she’s a dream to drive.”