Walking next to principal Masters towards my new classroom, I can feel my stomach forming tight, nervous knots. Today is my first day as the new History teacher at Riverside High. Being fresh out of college myself is not helping either.
"Here we are, Miss Shaw." Principal Masters says, turning to face me, when we stop in front of classroom 43 at the end of the hallway on the second floor.
"I hope that you will fit in nicely here at Riverside High. We are really excited to have a young and energetic teacher joining our ranks and we can't wait to see what you have to offer." He says with an enormous grin on his rather round face.
Looking nervously at the closed door in front of me and then back at the grinning face of the principal I say in a soft voice, "I can only hope to live up to your great expectations of me, Principal Masters."
"I am sure you will, Miss Shaw. Just remember that you are the teacher and the one in control and you will do fine. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me or any of the other teachers. We are here to help one another, and even though I have been in this profession for many years, I can still remember how it felt to be the new kid on the block." He says with a soft chuckle that makes his belly vibrate.
"Thank you, Principal Masters. I will surely ask when I need some advice." I reply with a shy smile of my own.
The Principal seems like a sympathetic guy and I can only thank the stars I got a nice and understanding mentor in him. It would have been awful if he were mean, and short-tempered. I am not under the illusion that all the teachers at this school would be as nice as him, but having at least one friendly face to go to if I needed advice, was a bonus.
Clapping his hands together in front of him, he says with his signature smile, "Good, that is my cue to leave you to get settled into your new classroom before the bell rings for first period. Have a pleasant day, Miss Shaw."
"Thank you, Mister Masters."
With that he turns around and walks away, leaving me standing in front of my still closed door.
With a deep intake of breath to gather my courage, I open the door and step into the dimly lit room. The blinds are still closed, and the only light in the room is coming from the open doorway. The room smells like old books and dust and I cannot stop the soft sneeze that escapes me.
"B-Bless y-you." Comes a stammering masculine voice from somewhere in the dark classroom.
I let out a frightened squeak and turn to the wall to fumble for the light switch. The lights flicker on and I blink my eyes while looking around the room and clutching my chest. In my frightened state I dropped my bag and the files I were holding, and everything now lies scattered on the floor around my feet.
"S-sorry, I d-did n-not m-m-mean to s-scare y-you." Comes the voice again and I look to the back of the class to find the owner of the voice that nearly gave me a heart attack.
There at the back, against the wall, stands a tall, broad-shouldered teenager with dark brown hair and apologetic brown eyes hiding behind thick framed glasses next to his desk.
I exhale a nervous laugh and say, "You scared the living daylights out of me. I thought the classroom was empty because it was so dark and quiet in here."
He looks down at his shuffling feet and I can see that he is really uncomfortable. Nice going, Samantha. You have not even started your first class and you have already made your first student nervous. I need to fix this and put him at ease; I decide and start walking towards him.
Stopping a few feet away from him with my hands clasped in front of me, I say with the friendliest smile I can muster, "Hi, I am Samantha Shaw, the new History teacher."
He looks up at me with his beautiful brown eyes framed with long, dark lashes that will make any girl envious and answers softly, "H-hello, M-miss S-s-Shaw I am D-Draven K-Kage.
Immediately after saying that, he looks back down at his feet and I know that he feels self-conscious of his stutter. For him to be this shy I just know that there must be kids that treat him cruelly. This brings the mother hen out in me and I decide there and then that I will make it my mission to help him crawl out of his shell.
"Well, Draven, it is nice to meet you and thanks to you I don't even need a cup of coffee to kick-start my day." I say with a chuckle while turning around to pick up my scattered belongings.
"Will you open the blinds for me, please?" I ask while kneeling to pick up my stuff. My files are a mess and sorting them will take a while. I give a soft sigh and stand up, heading for my desk at the front of the class.
The sunlight streaming in from the now uncovered windows gives me the opportunity to take in my new surroundings and my shoulders drop. No wonder the kids hate History. This classroom will even make a Sunflower depressed.
The posters against the walls are faded and torn, the paint is peeling in a few places and the bookshelf is a disorganized mess of scattered books and discarded sweet wrappers. Do not even get me started on the dust bunnies that are threatening to jump out and attack my sinuses.
"Oh, boy." I say with a sigh that can flatten a city. "This is going to take a lot of work."