“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!”