Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

A TEACHER’S VOICE – a story seed

on 06/02/2015

Gillian spoke so softly that her voice could barely be heard. She almost whispered when she spoke. Her voice had a hypnotic, but soothing quality to it, so that even Ms Jenkins, the principal, touring the hallways of her old-fashioned yet sturdy and dignified school building, felt herself drawn to Gillian’s classroom, like a moth to a lightbulb.

Through the window of the classroom door Ms Jenkins watched the teenage faces in Gillian’s class, listening to the whisper mesmerised, as if paused in time, resembling the faces of preschool kids being told of the unspoken riches in hidden caves, or forest fairies bathing in waterfalls, or brave knights rescuing princesses from fire-breathing dragons. You could almost envision her voice as brushstrokes of a calm painter, mixing wonderful colours and letting them travel from Gillian’s mouth, though the air, all the way to the eyes of the students, in a slow, almost lazy, yet rhythmic pattern, taking its time yet never failing to reach its destination.

Gillian was indeed a precious asset to the school, Ms Jenkins thought. The principal loved giving her new protegee teenage classes, difficult classes, classes other teachers regarded as pure managerial punishment. Gillian had a way of soothing even the most stirring atmosphere and calming even the most challenging groups. Sure, there were always envious colleagues who claimed she got them calm, but didn’t actually teach them anything, but time would tell. She didn’t use any of the visual or audio aids the school provided, she shunned technological devices, her methodical games weren’t elaborate, she abhorred exams and tests of any kind, her documentation was very stingy with words and always left something unsaid… But she was a trainee English teacher, only 24 years old with still quite enough time to learn. Yet, listening to that voice, almost humming its teaching tune, you found yourself simply wanting, no – needing to stop, sit down, forget about everything else and simply listen.

To some, that voice had colour, to some it tasted like hot chocolate, to some it was like music, to some the sea breeze… To Ms Jenkins, who had always wanted to be a painter, Gillian’s voice always sounded like brushstrokes. Some of the more cynical teachers joked about the witch-like magic in the voice and how Gillian would have been burned at the stake had she been born in the Middle Ages. Some said she must have been one of the mutants from the X-men. When she spoke in the teachers’ lounge, she was modest and shy and gentle, but never timid or weak. It was interesting to observe how she made some teachers uneasy as soon as they realised they’d started listening to her attentively. They would shake their heads and leave, as if afraid to be entangled in her unintentionally weaved web. Amazingly enough, those who did listen and talk to her, always left the lounge room in such high spirits, surprising their students, families and loved ones by an unexpected act of kindness.

However, there was something unusual. As soon as Ms Jenkins moved away from Gillian’s classroom, she couldn’t, for the life of her, remember a single word of what Gillian had been talking about. While listening, it all seemed so clear, so self-evident and logical, and now that Ms Jenkins was reaching the door of her office, she simply couldn’t recall any of it. She shook her head off, as if chasing away a boring fly, buzzing around her crude-cut short hair, and waved her hand lightly to make the thought go away. Maybe she was just getting old. The students seemed concentrated enough. She’d think about that later.

(Pic found on pinterest and edited in pixlr)

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Anita Kovacevic

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