Chapter Two

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"One black coffee with cream for ... Bev?" I look up from my phone and put it into the pocket of my jeans jacket, then I walk over to the counter and accept my coffee cup. I put cardboard around it so I don't burn my hand and smile at the Starbucks worker before turning around and approaching the door, pushing it open by leaning against it. The two girls entering beside me smile because I hold it open for them with one hand as soon as I'm out and I let go once they're in.

I get in line on the pavement, the busy crowd going to work sucks me in and I try to join in with it's speed. I instantly regret wearing ballerina shoes when I spot the rain clouds hanging low above the skyscrapers, almost touching the rooftops. At least I packed an umbrella, I always do that when I take a big bag to school.

Every now and then as I'm walking down the street, I feel eyes on me but I'm used to it and I barely notice it anymore. It's just that some people's stares are very penetrating, a lot of them don't even realise they're staring and some of them also have no idea that their sunglasses are so cheap that you can see right through them. Not that you need sunglasses at this time of the year, it's not long until the next snow storm hits and we're all going to stash our homes with what we need until public transport or basically society starts to function on the outside again.

Two blocks away from school, I throw my coffee into the trash and speed up after risking looking at my watch. I'm late and I'm not supposed to be late. Today is my first day of teaching in my own class. I've been watching and doing test-classes for such a long time and today, the new year starts and I get to be the class teacher for a class in year eight and I couldn't be more excited.

I decided not to dress up because even though they've seen me around, I know exactly what kind of teacher I want to be and what kind of impression I want to make. Obviously, unlike other teachers, when they start or grow older, it doesn't matter, I remember what it's like being 14 so I have no doubt that I'm going to do a good job. I have been studying and preparing for this for so long and now I finally feel like a real teacher.

I enter the building through the spinning door and run my fingers through my hair, eyeing myself in the glass. I approach the stairs that lead to the teacher's lounge and cross paths with the school's pretty teacher that probably all the girls dream of re-creating some fictional teacher/student action with. On my first day here, he expressed to me what kind of person he is right away: a huge dick. And the reason for that is probably that he isn't a proud owner of one. He shoots me a disgusted gaze and I just hold my head up high, walking past him with the best arrogant white girl eyes I can do.

After all, my name is Beverly but we don't talk about that. Nobody needs to know about that and I only accept it when I can come to peace with my inner white girl, then it's perfect. And when somebody who eyed me with disgust on my first day and called me all thoughts of names behind my back and to my face even though he hadn't spoken to me in the slightest, I need to be the arrogant white girl that my parents think they named when they picked out the name while watching some MTV reality show.

I push open the door to the teacher's lounge and I'm greeted by Mrs Fisher, a beautiful 60-year-old who looks like she just turned 40. She smiles at me and then salutes, I laugh to myself and wave at her before walking to the coffee machine and making myself another one. Since I really am late, there's barely anybody in here anyway since who doesn't have class this early in the morning is still at home sleeping or having breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, I realise that that's something I haven't had yet and as soon as I notice, my stomach starts to grumble in that not so pleasant way. I sigh and decide to get something in the break of my double lesson that I have. But a break probably won't even be possible when I have so much to organize with my new class. I have never done any class in that year, not even when I was observing other teachers or practiced teaching so these are all new kids to me.

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The walls are painted in all kinds of colors and the windows are all wide open when I enter the class. I look into the kids' faces and they're all sitting in their seats as if they've never been anywhere else but it's freezing cold in the room so I put my bag down on the front desk and hurry over to the windows, closing them all quickly except for the one in the front so there can be a little bit of air in the room. Then I turn to the class and give them a smile. "Hi, guys" I say and grab a piece of chalk. "My name is Miss Nicholls, for all of you who haven't seen me around yet. I'll be your new class teacher and I have to say I'm really excited, this is my first class, I've passed my exams and I've done some practice but now I'm really getting started" I explain and write my name down on the board.

From behind me, I suddenly hear somebody snapping their fingers. I spin around and put the chalk down, the hem of my dress flying around. Then I sit down on the edge of the desk and look at the girl with the brown hair and the orange make-up. "Yes?" I ask. "What's your name?" "Perri" she replies. "What's your question?" "Are you not married, Miss?" I raise one eyebrow. "No, like you said ... Miss." She nods with an arrogant smile and I can already see that little kid judging me and I think it's quite amusing but I don't say anything more. Uni may not have prepared me for this but I have been preparing myself.

"What do you teach?" a boy in the back asks. "English and art" I reply and a lot of faces light up but some also drop. "I'll hand out your new timetables in a second" I explain. "But first, what I'm wondering is what was up with all the open windows." "Thomas farted!" somebody shouts from the side and I roll my eyes. "I hope we all get along" I say, ignoring the random yells into the class. "In order for that to work, I just want to set a few ground rules. I don't appreciate any pranks played on me and I really think learning is the easiest when it's quiet. Of course you can chat every once in a while but I do want you to listen and participate in class. You can also drink in my lessons and go to the toilet without asking. And I want you to know that when there's a problem, you can always come to me after class, I'm happy to help."

My heart warms up when I see a people in around the class smiling as I say that, just slightly but I feel like that the kind of teacher I'm trying to be has already come across at least to a few students. I smile and clap my hands. "Right! Timetables, you're getting a lot of new teachers this year, aren't you? If you've got any questions about the timetables or if there's been a mistake, please don't be afraid to ask."

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