Chapter Five

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"Miss Nicholls, right?" I look up from the coffee machine and see Mrs. Fisher looking at me, her own coffee mug in her hand that has little kittens with mustaches on it. I nod and turn to her. "What can I do for you?" She smiles. "Oh, I just wanted to know how you're liking your first couple of days." I smile back. "It's great. My class seems really nice, won't be easy to handle, I guess, I mean, they're teenagers ... but I'm excited." She combs some of her hair back with her hand. I've heard some students joke around that when her hair is down, she is in a bad mood and when it's up in a bun, she's happy. And I have to admit, having heard that, it really does look like it. But no matter what her hair looks like, it seems like she never wears the same clothing twice and since she's so fit, she can wear anything and she is literally the Queen B of fashion around here.

"That's great. You're a great addition to the school as well, we've been missing a new English teacher for a very long time." I nod. "Yeah, so I've heard. Any advice you can give me?" She laughs. "Well, I tend to not be very good with the younger kids, I prefer the seniors, it's different." I smile. "Yeah, I get it." "But, the thing that I've always found the most difficult in all of my years of being a teacher is ... there are so many different characters and so many different personalities, people who know different things, all kids are unique, all have different talents ... and you only have six grades to give them. Being a teacher is fun but judging the work, the people ... it's hard." "What do you mean? I mean, you're only supposed to rate your subject." She sighs. "Yes but imagine a student that has the most brilliant mathematic brain and you're blown away, you're sure they're going to become something huge. And then, they fail PE or they fail English. And you have to judge them with such simple grades for a very complicated character that has a lot to offer in a different area and you may be ruining everything just because there is no in between. Do you know what I mean?" I nod. "Yeah, I guess so. I'll keep that in mind." "It's important to judge everything overall, as good as you can. And always put yourself in the students' position. Have they done their best? And what do they deserve? It may be in your hands to decide over someone's future."

Even arriving at home, Mrs. Fisher's words are still in my head and I realise I've never thought about it that way, it makes so much sense and I've never heard anything so accurate, something so incredibly fitting describing teaching and the power you have over someone's future as a teacher. Because it's not always in the students' hands. "You okay, Bev?" Daley asks into my thoughts and my eyes snap up. "Um, yeah..." I reply and close the door. "I just finished chapter five" he announces proudly. I turn to him and stretch out my arms to hug him. He laughs and wraps his arms around me as I rub his back and kiss his cheek. "I knew you could do it!" We pull away and he smiles. "Thanks." I grin. "So, celebration? It's Friday, we can go to the pub. I mean, if you don't leave me for some cheap girly..." He laughs. "Sounds good." "Alright! I'll shower and then we can go for some dinner. Don't write in the meanwhile though! It'll confuse you and take you out of your zone. You can gather all ideas together tonight and then when you're back to writing in the morning, you'll be buzzing with ideas and the block is officially over." He nods. "You're right, you're right" he agrees, stepping away from the computer and dropping down on the couch, turning on the TV. I disappear into the bathroom, undress and step into the shower, letting the hot water fall down on me. I've only been properly teaching for a few days and it's already exhausting me but it's also so much fun that I could not be happier with my new job.

When I come back out, dressed in jeans and a black blouse, Daley is ready to go, sitting on the sofa in a white shirt with the the sleeves curled up and black jeans. He gets up when I come out of the bathroom and I grab my bag. "Where are we even going?" I ask. We look at eachother, then laugh. Because we always go for dinner at the same place when we go out. It's an African restaurant just around the block from Daley's favourite pub. I think he can finally relax but once we're out the front door, he looks at me from the side with his eyes full of doubt. "Bev, you believe in my book, right?" I roll my eyes. "Daley, I've told you a thousand times, of course I do." "But ... I mean, they've said they'd take it if they like it but what if they don't like it?" "I mean, you've only let me read the first chapter but so far I love it and I loved your short story and the publisher loved it so if they offer you this deal, I think they're pretty open to give you a chance." This speech, I've given that to him a thousand times but it seems to be just as reassuring every single time. After being featured in the Times with a short story he wrote, a publisher had liked it so much that they had offered him a book deal, telling him to write in that kind of style and they'd most likely take it. Maybe the pressure is pulling the writer's block down on him.

Daley opens the door for me and I step in, looking up to the counter. "It's been a week, I was worried!" Febe shouts. Me and Daley both laugh. "Usual, yeah? But I'll bring you a new wine they've just shipped from Senegal!" she adds in her African accent. We sit down in on of our usual spots and I lean back in the chair. Daley still looks unsure. "Don't worry about anything, we're celebrating your progress tonight!" He sighs. "I know." Febe comes over and pours some wine into our glasses. "Bev, you started working, righ?! How is that?" I smile. "It's great, thanks. But tonight is all about Daley making progress with his book!" "Ooh, I can not wait to read that, we are excited so much! Stefano in the kitchen love your short story so he most excited!" Now Daley is flattered and it gives him a little bit of confidence. "Thanks, Febe" he says and finally gives in.

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