19th chapter

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Nora was walking up the stairs to the fourth floor of the school. Her heart was beating fast as she was happily catching up with an older short woman, whose old gray tweed skirt was swaying with every step she took. She had foxy orange hair with small curls as remnants of a perm. She was not some kind or approachable woman, Nora would not even say she was particularly nice, but today she was Nora's favorite person in the whole world. She was taking her to the classroom to meet the children - her first workplace, and that was enough to fill Nora's heart with happiness and pride.

They stopped in front of the classroom door with large collage letters forming 3D on it. Nora was smiling from ear to ear. She followed the guidance counselor into the classroom and immediately glanced all around the room. It was unbelievable to her that she was finally here and that she would stay alone with these curious little kids in just a few moments. For a split second, she panicked, and her heart pounded high in her throat, threatening to burst out if she said anything.

- Good day. My name is Nora, and I will be your teacher this year. I hope we will learn a lot together, have great fun, and enjoy all that awaits us – she was convinced that she had just grown a few centimeters from pride.

The children quickly accepted her. That was the thing she loved the most. They were so honest and full of acceptance because the world and life had not yet spoiled them. On her first workday, the first day of the school year, Nora decided to win them over. All of those college preparations, those hours spent in schools attending other teachers' classes, as well as the hours she held herself as a part of her curriculum, none of it was even similar to her being alone with these kids now, holding her own classes, and being the only one in charge. Nora was truly happy because she was confident and sure of herself, and was sure she was at the right place, right where she needed to be. She enthusiastically began the preparations so she could teach those little smart brains as best as she could.

Her days were suddenly so filled, she barely had time to sleep. It was tiring, but she was content. The days when she did not know what to do with herself were behind her. The same as those days when she was worried about finding a job, all of it seemed so distant and unimportant now. She was off to the races. She was getting up early to get Jana ready for preschool and to cook lunch, so they have it ready when they got back home. Then, on her way to work, Nora would drop Jana off at preschool, kissing and hugging her. Saying goodbye was getting easier each day, and that gave Nora extra push and motivation to go on. She would be the first one to arrive at school, and she used that time to print everything she had prepared for her students the night before. Then, she would make herself a cup of coffee, sit down in the empty teachers' room and arrange her thoughts while waiting for the old and creaky printer to print out all twenty-four handouts in several copies.

Her apartment was filled with books that she used to get ideas for working with her students. She came up with worksheets, games, and educational stories that were supposed to help any student master the subject matter. It was exhausting work, but it was all worth it when she saw kids' enthusiasm about it, and how much it motivated them to study. It was not difficult for her to stay up late into the night after she had put Jana in bed so that she could get everything ready. It was not difficult to buy and carry a bunch of papers so that she could print out all the worksheets for her students. She felt lucky that the school, even though they did not have the blank papers, had at least a computer and a printer. She was gladly buying collage and glue every week, so they had something to do during the art class. She did not mind dragging her massive synthesizer from her college days along so they could have something to do during the music class. No, none of it was hard for her because she loved her work and knew that those children were worth it. In the end, it would all pay off. The children adored her, their parents were pleased with her, her colleagues and the principal had only words of praise for her. She would certainly get a position full-time, she had to – everyone had noticed the effort she was putting into her work. That was the part she had control over, and she was determined to do it to the best of her ability.

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