Sunday, July 31, 2011

A passage from Ambition Rewarded

“Let’s have a look at your text,” I said thumbing through the teacher’s edition of the 12th grade literature book for this class. I grimaced as I looked at the dog-eared text. It had pages ripped out and the stories in it were nothing even I would look at twice. I sighed deeply and looked up at my class.

“Aint nothing in there we wants to read,” said Anthony. “You don’t even want to read it from the face you got.”

The class snickered in agreement.

Nodding and closing the sorry text, I came out from behind the desk and said, “You know what, Anthony, you’re right. I don’t want to read any of that in there. I think you would enjoy reading something else a lot better. What novels have you read?”

The students looked around at each other. “We don’t read novels,” one student said.

“Yeah, nobody gonna give us a novel and trust us to bring it back or actually read it,” added Tina.

I nodded and pulled out my cell phone and dialed a number. “Hey, Jerry! How are you this morning? Great. Yes, I’m good too. I’ve missed you lately. We have to get together again. Oh, tonight? Well, ok, sure. I’d love that Jer. Well, I called because I’m over here at my new teaching gig. Yeah, I know, I’ll explain that tonight too. What I need are some novels for my students. Um hum. I knew you could help. Well, I was thinking of some good Christmas novels old and new since it is the season. Cool. Oh about 35 should cover both my English classes. Then I was wondering if you have 15 of the book Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D. Oh you do? Great. How soon could you get those together for me? You’re wonderful, Jer. I owe you. Oh, yeah, throw me some art books in there too. Yes, how tos and art appreciations. See you soon! Thank you!”

I finished and looked up at my class. They were looking at me with bewilderment. “What? Ain’t never seen a teacher use a cell phone before?”

The class laughed at that then said, “Now what?”

“Well, let’s see what you know about grammar.”

A collective moan went through the class. “I know, I know, but it won’t hurt.”

We went around the room playing guess what I am with parts of speech and the students did a very good job until a man I knew showed up at my open class.

“Jerry! I exclaimed. “You didn’t have to come so quickly!” I ran to help him. “How’d you find me?”

“Oh, Paxton and I just listened for your voice. You’re the only one who sounds happy around here,” he added as the kids observed him.

“Well, come in! Hey Paxton,” I greeted his lab but did not pet him.

My students exploded with screeches of “It’s a dog!” and “Can I pet him?” Until I quieted them down and added, “This is Mr. Jerry Pike and this is his guide dog, Paxton.”

“Hi,” Jerry said. “Let me get him out of harness then you can all pet him.” Jerry followed me to the desk and set the big box down then undid Paxton and let him go. The
students were eating it up.

“Thank you, Jerry,” I said. “You didn’t have to get that together so soon. And I would’ve come picked it up.”

“No problem. This way I got to see the look on your students’ faces at seeing a dog. I know how you like to break the rules you know.” He bumped into me and I bumped him back.

At that moment Ms. Martin decided to make an appearance in the doorway. “Ms. Vic, I didn’t know this was show and tell day.”

“Ms. Martin, can I introduce you to my friend and manager of Books Inc. Mr. Pike and his seeing eye dog, Paxton. They brought me some books I requested for the students.”

She was impressed but it only showed for a moment before she checked herself and said flatly, “My mistake, carry on.” Then walked on down the hallway.

Jerry leaned into my ear and said, “Tough cookie, huh?”

I snorted in response and he laughed.

“Not sure who’s worse, her or Larry.”

“You’re telling me.”

Paxton returned to Jerry and seated himself after all the kids got their turn at petting him. He was harnessed and Jerry left with a reminder to be ready by six for the symphony. I agreed and he left the class.
The teasing started then and I tried to take it in stride despite my cheeks turning bright red. I explained to them that we had been friends for many years, but nothing more. They didn’t believe me. Oh well, I don’t believe everything they say either. Guess that makes us equal.

The bell rang before we got to look at our books, but they seemed eager to come back tomorrow. Yippee! Not, well maybe a little yippee. On to the next class.

Hope you enjoyed this look into Ambition Rewarded.  You can pick it up as an ebook from Kindle and Smashwords!


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