EPISODE 1.2 THE PARAGONS
Iris got ready for her first class in the academy the next day. The school didn’t give her time to sort out her office and read the portfolio. She was told that she only has to introduce herself for today. She was asked not to teach on her first day. It was probably because of the event in the afternoon, the Student Organization’s Debate. However, not all students were required to be there. Is the school being considerate to her?
She stopped in front of the door with the number 37. She took a deep breath before grabbing the handle. She smiled. The first impression is important. Upon entering, she was awed by how clean the room was. There was a computer on the teacher’s desk. The whiteboard looked like it wasn’t used at all. She turned to the students with a wide smile. The first thing she noticed was the laptop, with the academy logo on top, in front of the fifteen students. The second thing she noticed, which made her smile falter, was the look on their faces. They looked uninterested with her as some of them continue typing on their laptops while others were reading a book or writing something.
“Uh good day!” she exclaimed. They glanced at her but didn’t stop doing whatever they’re doing.
“Ehem. Your teacher is here,” she said softly. The boy in the front stopped typing then looked up.
“We were told that you’re just going to introduce yourself today. We already know the classes you’ll be handling,” he said. “So it’s fine for us to do tasks for other classes. Please introduce yourself.” He looked down then started typing again.
Iris’s mouth hung open after he spoke. She looked around the room and found that everyone didn’t care about the teacher in front of them. She scoffed silently. What did I expect in an elite school? It’s not every day she sees a group of students seriously studying. There were bound to have some students in the group that start problems. But disrespecting teachers is still a no no for her.
“Ah, I see. Then I’ll write on the board,” she said but nobody paid her any attention. She shook her head. Working here would be more troublesome than her previous job. Teaching here will take thrice her energy and time.
She walked in front of the whiteboard to write her name. After she wrote her name and the subjects she would handle, she put the marker down. She was about to get her things and leave but she stopped then stared at what she wrote. She bit her lip before grabbing the eraser. After erasing everything except her name, she grabbed the marker.
After writing, she grabbed her stuff. No one told her that she shouldn’t give her students homework on her first day. She glanced at the students who were not confusingly staring at the board before leaving the classroom. She wrote three sentences on the board - the first one was ‘Please answer this,’ the second was ‘QCKV UL S BMKGNS?,’ and the third was ‘GFPX OH I BWFBRZ.’ Iris knew they are smart so they would know how to find the answer.
She was waiting for the elevator to go down to her office when a student stopped behind her. The elevator door was black so she couldn’t see the person’s reflection.
“Good morning,” she heard him say. Iris smiled, relieved that at least one student respects her.
“Good morning to you too,” she replied without turning. The elevator door slid open and she entered. She glanced at the student to remember his face. She had to do a double-take because in front of her was the first student she met yesterday. He smiled at her. He didn’t move to enter the elevator. Unlike yesterday, she was able to look at him properly. He stood a foot taller than her. He had dark brown hair and deep green eyes. She figured that he was an athlete because of his well-built body. He didn’t seem to want to go in the elevator. When the door slowly closes, the last thing she saw before it closed was his nameplate attached to his shirt pocket. Though she only recognized a few letters.
“Dei…” she whispered. “What a unique name.” The elevator door opened on the ground floor. She went to her office to sort her personal items. She put her parents’ picture on the table beside her nameplate. She was about to put a small pot of flowers on the short glass table when a group of teachers rushed past in front of her office. She noticed one particular person in the crowd. Not because she knew her but because of her unusual behavior. She looked scared and her left hand which was covering her mouth was trembling. The other teachers also looked uneasy. While they rushed to the main door, the trembling teacher, who looked like she was in her late 20s, stopped in front of the glass door. She didn’t notice Iris staring at her.
When Iris opened the door, the teacher was startled.
“Are you ok?” Iris asked. The teacher’s frightened eyes softened. She slowly nodded. Iris glanced at the main door.
“What happened?” she asked. The teacher looked hesitant to answer.
“You’re the new teacher, right? We’re sorry we didn’t get to introduce ourselves because we’re busy preparing for the event,” she said with a smile. “I’m Denise.” Iris shook her outstretched hand.
“Please call me Iris.”
“Is everything alright?” Iris asked. She was too curious about the commotion to let it go.
“Yes. Uh, there were just minor problems in our preparation,” she replied with high pitched voice. She didn’t look directly at Iris.
“I see,” Iris said with a smile. “By the way, it’s nice to meet you.” Denise beamed with excitement. Her behavior earlier disappeared. Iris noticed that she had a dimple on her right cheek.
“Let’s get along,” she exclaimed. Iris nodded.
“I should get back to my work,” she told her. Denise looked behind her.
“Oh. You’re arranging your office,” she said.
“Yes. I’ll see you in the Student Organizations’ Debate later,” Iris replied. Denise’s body became tense with the mention of the event. Her smile was stiff but Iris ignored it.
She returned to cleaning and organizing her office. After an hour, she closed her office then walked around the teachers’ area of the English and Literature Department to familiarize herself with the place. She was nearing an office with an opened door when she heard a conversation. The voices were loud. She stopped in front of the empty office next door.
“I won’t be surprised if it happens again this year,” a man said.
“And no one’s going to do anything about it again,” another man said.
“This isn’t a big event so the teachers aren’t telling the higher-ups,” a woman said.
“It’s not big because it’s not outside the school?” the first man retorted.
“Do other students know?” the second man asked.
“They probably noticed but didn’t have proof,” the first man replied.
“We don’t have proof too, so let’s stop this,” the woman exclaimed. When Iris heard their footsteps, she quickly hid in the corner. She turned around and put her phone on her ear. Their footsteps neared.
“Who’s that?” she heard the woman ask. They stopped walking.
“Did she hear?” the second man whispered.
“Hmm I’ll buy your favourite pizza on my way home,” Iris said with a flirty voice. “I miss you.” The three continued walking without talking to her. When she couldn’t hear any footsteps, she put her phone down.
Without a second thought, she went to the gymnasium where the event will take place. She hid so Denise and the others won’t see her. They were probably the organizers. Some of them were fixing the plastic chairs and tables in front. While some, like Denise, were talking in a circle. Iris sneaked to the designated organizers’ area at the back of the stage. She found it empty.
However, it didn’t last. When she heard their footsteps, she quickly hid inside an empty cabinet. They stood in front of the cabinet. One of the men put stabled papers on the chair that blocked one of the doors of the cabinet.
“There won’t be a problem with the questions, right?”
“I’m sure.” Iris peeked through the keyhole. She saw two men she had never seen before but they have teachers’ IDs.
“Don’t be nervous. Nothing will happen,” the man in blue shirt said.
“I can’t calm down because of that masked person. He might ruin the plan,” the man in white exclaimed. Who are they talking about? And what plan? The two men walked toward a computer. Iris slowly opened the door a bit. She grabbed the stabled papers from the chair. She quickly pulled her hand in when another man entered.
“Sir, I told the kids to get rid of the papers with questions,” the man said. After that, the three of them left the room. Iris got out of the closet after a few minutes. She slid the papers under her coat. When she returned to her office, she immediately read the contents of the papers. She read the first page. She was about to turn the page when a hand stopped her.