Chapter nine: Arriving early for work, school teacher Aster checks in on the neighbouring classroom. What she finds truly upsets her. She leaves in a hurry heading to...? If you were Aster where would you go?
Reaching her classroom, Aster took a moment to calm herself. She leaned against the door frame as she beheld the peace, the order, and the oasis of good teaching. A small clay pot containing a Germanium with bright blood-red petals was on the left corner of her teacher's desk. To the right of the flower was an empty rectangular wicker basket there to collect homework. The centre of the desk was covered by a beige mat bordered by a print of multicoloured flowers. The placemat was clear of any clutter. A ‘World’s Best Teacher’ mug occupied pride of place on the far right corner. It was a gift from this year’s teacher’s pet Elizabeth Joy Hall.
Shrines to Elizabeth Joy adorned the walls. Her artwork and math assignments were framed with construction paper and tacked to the bulletin board. She had accumulated the most stars on the reading chart.
Elizabeth Joy wasn’t the only student who had benefited from Aster’s instruction. Every year Aster’s students outshone all the others. During every assembly, her students were the best behaved. At the year-end evaluation, her class obtained the best grade point average. Year after year, Aster’s record was unblemished.
The sun’s rays poured in through the window at the back of the room. Aster marched down the aisle. She seized the strings and turned the slats first one way and then the other. Sun successfully blocked, victory achieved, Aster claimed her teacher’s chair at the head of the classroom. Aster opened a drawer and pulled out today’s lesson plans. A quick review was all that was required. After so many years, she knew the lesson plans by heart.
As usual, the first student to arrive was Elizabeth Joy. She and her mother Victoria wore matching mother-daughter sailor dresses but their hair ribbons were contrasting—Elizabeth Joy’s was pink and Victoria wore red.
If Elizabeth Joy were my daughter, Aster thought--not for the first time, she wouldn't wear such a silly getup. She needs to be recognized as the smart, capable individual that she is not be mistaken for some...some carbon copy.
“Good morning, Mrs. Stevens.” They showered Aster with sunshine. “Thank you for sending arithmetic homework home with Elizabeth Joy. We enjoyed working on it together.” Victoria put the sheet of paper in the basket.
“Together? I trust you didn’t complete the work for her.” Aster cautioned.
Victoria’s cheeks reddened. “No, of course not. I would never. You know I would never do something like that.” Victoria straightened Elizabeth Joy’s hair ribbon and gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek before she left the classroom.
Elizabeth Joy made a bee-line for her desk, pulled out a textbook, and silently read as she waited for the buzzer to sound.
When the buzzer sounded, Aster’s students filed in regimentally. They folded their hands on their desk and waited for Mrs. Stevens to begin their day.
“Good morning, class,” Aster greeted them.
“Good morning, Mrs. Stevens,” they sang in unison.
Roll call began. “Andrew.”
“Present,” each child replied in turn.
Her students knew without being told that reading followed roll call. They opened their books.
“Elizabeth Joy, please begin reading where we left off yesterday.”
The girl cradled the book in her hands and read with skill.
Aster’s heart swelled with pride.
A loud noise broke through the wall from Bunny’s classroom. Elizabeth Joy stopped reading. Worried faces studied Aster.
“Class, that noise is none of our concern,” she told them. “Who would like to read next?”
Rows and rows of hands reached for the ceiling but Devin Morris’ hand remained on his desk as he slouched in his chair.
“Devin, please continue.”
He used his book as a shield and moved his lips but didn’t make a sound.
“Devin, lower the book and read loudly, clearly. Your classmates want to hear you.”
He stumbled from word to word as the classroom filled with laughter.
“Oh, Devin, we’ve gone over and over those words. Sound them out—as least try.”
10 Ways to Support Learners with Dyslexia