Friday, February 22, 2013

The Principle

It was 2 a.m. and she could still not sleep. She rolled in her bed, restless and perspiring. A fraction of her mind was worried about her three-year old child, another fraction irritated of her husband’s constant snoring. She had some water directly from the bottle beside her, each sip filling her with momentary bliss. In a few minutes, she was back into her bed of thoughts, less thirsty but equally restless.

She could not ignore this. She had known him for four years now. She was always affectionate towards him and had been there in his time of need. But yet, he was the one who had kept her awake for two nights now by doing something that she could not forgive, she could never forget.

In her eight years of teaching experience in St. Laurn’s School, she came across hundreds of new pretty, funny and handsome faces. Teacher-colleagues, office-staff, students and their parents; all had become an integral part of her life. A meticulous English teacher with a penchant for writing, she had always loved her job that gave her enough time to share her knowledge and simultaneously write for her heart’s content. Her life had seesawed between the professional setup and personal duty and she had balanced it well all along. Never had she imagined that something by someone could shatter that peaceful balance in an instant, and more, that ‘someone’ would be a student.

That spring, exams had just got over and school was off for students. Every day, she came to school; checked a pile of papers and returned. On some days, she even carried papers to her home and upon checking them, brought them back the next day. The excessive work coupled with monotony had started getting on her nerves and she yearned for a break.

Hardly did she know that a break had been waiting for her already!

It happened when she was going through the answer sheet of one of the students of ninth grade that her insomniac buds were triggered. The student had been a regular entry in her good books for his discipline. In a class of forty ardent students this boy had made a place for himself, just like he had made one in her mind. But she knew it would never be the same again. “Why did it have to be like this?” she wondered.

Did he do it willingly? How could a student as good as him resort to that level? Was he even aware how deep a shock it was for his teacher to see that? - The questions bothered her every moment. “What should I do?”she thought, striving every second to find an answer.

Enough! She could not let it haunt her anymore. She was after all a teacher who had always delivered professionally. What she expected from her students was respect, commitment and seriousness. Not this! She decided not to let it go easily this time. She would not let her affection for students cloud her judgment ever.

With a strong heart, she picked her red pen and drew a big circle around the first page of the answer sheet.

Somewhere inside the circle, there was a letter that started like this:

Dear Principle
St. Laurn's School

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