She walks down the hall nervously patting down her skirt. She clutches her books to her chest, and counts the doors she’s passing: 4, 5, 6. Closer and closer she gets to 10. Her room. With them all, waiting, watching. She takes a deep breath.
Her footsteps echo in the hallway. Clip, clop, clip. She listens to the sound and it calms her just a little bit. 7, 8. She peers into the rooms as she walks by. Order. Artistic. She sighs. Why did she even take this job again?
She stops. The hallway is silent once again. She’s facing the door, but she doesn’t reach for the handle. Not yet. It’s quiet. The lights are on, but she can’t see much more than that. She takes another deep breath. Here we go. She reaches for the door handle. It turns easily in her hand. Still no sound, not what she expected.
She walks in, her heels clicking on the floor again. “Good morning,” she starts, but then realizes she’s alone in the room. She looks down at the paper work they gave her. Room #10. Yup, she glances at the door again to make sure.
Curious, she turns to the room and starts to mumble. “I thought for sure I’d get the troublemakers. But the ones who never show? Are you kidding me? A whole classroom full?”
She reaches for the phone to call the office, but suddenly hears a squeak. “No way! A mouse?” She drops the receiver and looks frantically around.
Behind her the door opens. “I’m sure Ms. Weaver that you didn’t mean that.”
She turns quickly. “Um, Prinicipal Amins. I’m sorry?”
He waves his hands at the seats, and a flurry of squeaks unleashes throughout the classroom. She squints. Furry quambats. She can barely make out their ears just above the tops of the desks.
“Quiet, quiet,” Principal Amins says. “Yes, I know. This furniture is not conducive to your learning environment. It will be rectified by tomorrow morning, most certainly.”
He nodded at her. “Ms. Weaver, I’m sure you’ll find these students are both most interested in your material and most eager to learn what you’re presenting. I came down to see to it that you were notified personally about the change in furniture for your room.”
She seethed, her face growing hot. They had never told her she’d be teaching quambats. The lowest of the low. Her hands started shaking and her legs quivered. She placed her books and papers down on her desk.
“Of course,” she said cooly, “not a problem at all. I’m sure you will rectify the situation.”
Principal Amins grinned, then turned and walked out of the room. The squeaking began again.
The noise stopped. She took a deep breath, then let it out slowly counting down from ten. “Alright. Let’s gather in the front of the room, on this rug here and I’ll start.”
The squeaking started up again and she fought the urge to scream. Instead she whispered, “quietly,” and the only sound in the room were the pitter patter of tiny paws padding across the room.