The rain teemed down the glass as Lizzie stared through it to the waterlogged ground beyond. She was daydreaming. It was always the same scenario: glorious sunshine and her ideal man beckoning her to join him outside so he could whisk her away ... preferably in a flashy car. She wouldn't need asking twice. She'd climb out of the window and never look back. There was a bit of a drop but he'd be strong enough to catch her. She pictured him in her head: tall, dark and handsome. No ... not handsome, she smiled to herself, handsome sounded so terribly old-fashioned and much as she loved to indulge her Darcy fantasy, she wanted a modern man with maybe a few Regency manners thrown in! He'd be gorgeous and have strong muscular arms and...
"Miss ... Miss ... Jade's been sick ... Miss!"
Her daydream rudely interrupted, Lizzie turned her head wearily ... it was days like this that she really hated being a teacher. She wanted to inspire her pupils, to instill in them a love of books and literature. She wanted them to be passionate about prose in the same way she was but recently, it felt as if she was banging her head against a brick wall for all the difference she made. And to top it all, it was the second time this week a pupil had thrown up in her classroom and it was only Tuesday!
She stood up and walked over to where Jade was doubled over on her chair. Putting her hand on the girl's shoulder she spoke softly, "Let's get you to the nurse shall we?"
She knew what would happen once she left this particular class unsupervised. They'd descend into the sort of anarchy that hadn't been seen since the French Revolution. A couple of students in the class had come from public schools and were now branded as "posh". They would be summarily teased and verbally tortured by the more troublesome pupils while the rest of the class would watch in quiet acceptance. All they needed was a guillotine and she was quite sure the two victims would be despatched without delay. They'd already had a storming of the "Bastille" the previous week when they emptied her store cupboard of supplies and, in a slight change to the French version, locked the two unfortunate "posh" kids inside.
She threatened the entire class with detention if she came back to discover they'd been anything other than completely silent, and ushered Jade out of the room and down the corridor to the sickroom before she could throw up again.
Having deposited her charge with the nurse she made her way to the caretaker's office to see if someone could come and clean up the mess in the classroom. When she got back she took great pleasure in bawling them out for sitting around talking and throwing paper aeroplanes at each other when they should've been working, and carried out her threat by giving them all detention for the rest of the week. There was a collective groan but quiet once again descended, and Lizzie sent up a silent prayer of thanks that no-one was in tears or locked in a cupboard, before sinking back into her daydream until the bell rang for lunch.
Lizzie Davidson taught English Literature at Middlesfield High School in North London. Her only ambition as a child had been to teach and inspired by her own English Lit teacher, and a compulsive need to read every book she could lay her hands on, it had seemed like the obvious career choice. Naively Lizzie had expected her pupils, who, after all, had chosen to study this subject, to be as enthused and enthralled by books as she was, and the sad reality had been a bitter disappointment. Worst of all, she recognised that, as a result of their disinterest, she wasn't trying as hard as she should to engage them in the subject and that made her feel guilty. Daydreaming in class was becoming a hard habit to break.
To top off an unsatisfactory job, she wasn't exactly satisfied with her personal life either, something her classes seemed to have an uncanny knack of picking up on. When studying A Room with a View with one class, a reference to "spinsters" had prompted one sniggering teenager to ask if she was a spinster. This being an especially work-shy class meant that the rest of the lesson was peppered with comments about her love life, and a debate about her virginity, until Lizzie lost her cool entirely and shouted so loudly her colleague in the next door class had popped his head in to check everything was ok.