‘Classroom Outdoors for a Day’

“There was a loud crash in the hallway.”  The noise startled me. It was afternoon. I was waiting for my students to come in. I quickly got up to see. There he was the new janitor lost his balance while carrying the box of Children’s books,the box broke and the books lay scattered    all over in the hall. I saw him dash into the washroom. A heavy book fell on his foot. He was in pain.In his anger he kicked the pipe in the washroom and made a dent.

“Is anyone hurt ” I called out.

“No, Miss” was the answer.

I felt relieved. I came back to my classroom. I resumed my work.The janitors picked up the books and mopped the floor.

The buses arrived , an hour later.

The kids looked uninterested. I tried to cheer them up.

“Okay children let’s see how many of you spelled all the words right.”

“I know Mary and Henry,”  Matthew said.

“Well there are more than two rest of you need to study harder.”

The kids who had a few mistakes were happy. The teacher will not mention their name.

Everyone took out their spellers and opened them. We discussed some of the problems kids face when learning a new word. We were having a great conversation, suddenly we were interrupted by a knock.

I went to see who it was. I was surprised to see the custodian.

“Yes, what is it?”   I asked.

“It’s an emergency,one of the pipes in the washroom is leaking, the water is gushing out, the Principal wants  the teachers   to take the students out.

“Go out,is this the pipe, can it be the pipe  the janitor kicked?”

“Yes Miss,  everyone has to leave before the floors are flooded.”

This was unexpected, I didn’t know how I’ll keep the kids busy.

I was thinking.

Mary knew I was upset .

“Why don’t we go to the back garden to see if we  can  name  the flowers.”

“What a splendid idea, thank you Mary.” I said.

The kids named  the flowers . I noticed Henry stopped in front of one.It was obvious he didn’t recognize it. I  asked the kids,”does anyone know?   Mary raised her hand.

“Do you know it Mary?” I asked.

“Yes, Miss we have this flower in our garden,it’s Hibiscus”.

The kids were happy, Henry was stumped. I didn’t let them make fun of him.. I  told them, we must find out, if it’s safe to go back to our classroom.

Matthew volunteered to find out. He was in and out in a flash with the news.”‘Miss the principal wants us to stay outdoors,the floors are not dry yet.”

“All right children we have exactly one hour of school left. What would you like to do?”I asked.

Spelling Bee was the unanimous  choice.

I divided them into two groups of fifteen each. Henry and Mary were elected as  group leaders.

The competition was on. Mary’s team was slightly ahead. Henry’s team was two points behind. He was restless.He didn’t want to lose. Next few minutes was crucial. He breathed a sigh of relief when his team succeeded to even the score.

The final minutes were difficult for both. The word left to spell was, “HIBISCUS” .

The leaders volunteered to spell it. It was Henry’s turn, the large trophy and everyone watching him made him  nervous. He tried  to shake off the jittery feeling,he took a deep breath. He  spelled, “HIBISCES,”     there was a groan, his team was disappointed Henry let them down. Mary’s team will take the trophy they were certain.

I told them,  “Don’t worry you guys will win next time,it’s only a game,don’t be sad.

Mary came up spelled  the word easily, HIBISCUS, her team members jumped up and down , “We Won” they said.

Henry was sad , he sat still and lowered his head. He couldn’t understand how he made such a careless mistake.

“Cheer up Henry,it’s time to go home,get ready all of you.” I said.

It was three-thirty I sent them home. It was a hectic day we enjoyed the outdoor classroom.

I was certain I heard a voice whispering, “Did you notice the children loved studying outdoors?”   It was Tagore reminding me classrooms outdoors are better than ones indoors. “I agree  I said!”

SPEAKEASY #141 A magical Journey

Gavin and his sister Beryl were the two survivors of a car crash. It killed both their parents. They sat in front of their house mourning their loss.

A man in Khaki suit came with some papers for them to look at. Gavin who was older asked,  ‘what are these?’

The man replied, ‘these papers are from the court. It is a notice to expel you from this house.’

Gavin was speechless for a few minutes, he stood up and said, ‘why do they want us to leave this house.we have nowhere else to go?’

Sorry the man said, ‘I am doing my duty.’

Thus began the terrible journey of their life. They were homeless, starving and cold. They looked around to find some kind of shelter but there was none. They were tired and hungry. They sat in front of a house to rest. The housekeeper kicked them out. They got up and continued to walk.

Beryl asked her brother, ‘Gavin if we pray to God, do you think He will help us?’

Beryl’s words brought tears in her brother’s eyes, he said, ‘I don’t know  Beryl , do you think we are good kids?’

Beryl started to cry, ‘I wish we were, now God won’t help us either!’

A passerby heard this conversation he stopped and said, ‘children are always good it’s the adults who are not.’

”Then why are we homeless and hungry’, Beryl cried.

‘You’ll be okay, I promise you little girl, now I must run along I have things to do.’

The two continued their walk. Things were the same. They got no help . The weather got worse.  High winds were blowing and snow started falling again. It seemed even nature was cruel, there was no break insight.

Their walk took them to a strange place. There were a lot of people singing and dancing.  Gavin and Beryl stopped. They were curious. ‘These people are happy’  Beryl said, ‘let’s find out why, then we can be happy too.’

Gavin spotted the passerby in the group. They went closer to the group to be certain. Sure enough it was him. He was singing,the people were dancing.

All of a sudden the scene changed.  The weather changed,the sun came out and it was warm.  The group was  not dancing any more they had baskets of food for everyone there. Gavin and Beryl joined in and for the first time in a week, they had something to eat. After the meal,  Gavin and his sister were alone. All the people disappeared.

‘Gavin do you think it was some kind of magic?’

‘I have no idea,but it sure feels it was, Beryl.’

They started their walk again this time they met a gypsy.  She was not friendly. They asked her if there was a place they could rest. She ignored them and disappeared.

‘Are we in a land of magic Gavin?’

‘Why do you ask?’  He said.

‘People we met disappeared,it can only happen in a magical land I think.’

Their journey took them in front of a hill. They climbed up, they couldn’t believe  what was down the hill.

Gavin said, ‘it looks like a fairy land, I want to explore it.’

‘Okay’ Beryl was happy.

Down the hill they went. They met Alice, she was arguing with March Hare. At the next stop was Willy Wonka showing his Chocolate factory to the golden ticket holders. Then Gulliver and the Lilliputians were eating and drinking.

‘I love this place’,Beryl said.

‘Who’s there. ‘ a mean woman shouted.

‘It’s us’ Gavin replied.

‘Get out of my property’ she said.

‘Did I hear someone trying to get rid of my friends? Big bellied Santa came out of  North Pole and screamed. He was joined by Alice and her group,Wonka and the five kids and of course Gulliver and his Lilliputians.

‘Today is a day to celebrate Christmas and New Year, this day no one will go hungry and homeless.’  Santa said.

‘Now let us join together to sing a song of Christmas and New Year.’

Santa was the leader and he said, ‘one two three  we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!’

The mean woman stood in silence.   There was nothing left for her to do but walk away.

This is my story for SPEAKEASY #141

Merry Christmas And happy New Year to everyone.