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I was cooling my heels, taking a sabbatical from a hectic corporate job. The offer seemed harmless enough. I expected it to be a cakewalk anyway. I was requested to substitute for a Nursery school teacher, a dear friend who had some un- avoidable task to attend to for a fortnight. “Oh surely, this shouldn’t be more difficult than handling corporate giants. It would be child’s play for me.” I assured her in my smug oblivion.

So I walked into this classroom full of thirty angels dressed in red and white checks. Several shy smiles and blatant stares later, our introduction over, I decided to begin the good work. A simple instruction like,” Please take out your English notebook” was replied be a simple question, “ Ma’am the one with A,B,C?” I smiled benignly at the smart one and said , “Yes dear.” Till the same question was repeated one by one by all thirty of them, like a Mexican wave in a football stadium. In fact little did I know that this was to be a regular phenomenon. If I as much as patted the back of a student who happened to cough a little, it would trigger a chain reaction of coughing fits through out the class, each one louder than the other. Of course studies-wise we were not making much progress.

Just when I felt I was settling down, it was lunch break which threw the next big challenge at me. That of having to taste each one of their tiffins. As I dug into butter-smeared parathas, cutlets and noodles I found myself counting calories along with my blessings, in a futile effort. In all this chaos they found ample time to take water and toilet breaks, well, in droves.
Then there were a few to be literally handled with kid gloves. The ones who enacted the tearful farewell to their parents every morning while I closed the gates feeling like some Cruella Deville.I racked my brains for all the Management case studies I had handled over the years, not finding any perfect way of handling a crisis where, when a child starts crying, he just cries for the next three hours. Well thanks Mr. Maslow, I was surely at the bottom rung of the Self-Actualisation Heirarchy. I marveled at all those who did this as a regular job, week after week and the patience and ingenuity required to pull it off.

One day in the morning assembly, I noticed most of them reciting their hilarious take on the Morning Prayer, “ All things bright and beautiful, all teachers big and small…”
No, surely they couldn’t be cocking a snook at the girth of some well-endowed teachers.
Very patiently I spent the major part of the day telling them,” Say creature. Its ‘ kreeee-chure’ .All creatures big and small. Ok! Good.” Mission accomplished, I slept that night with a smile on my face, a picture of sublime work satisfaction.

However the next morning I knew I had yet another daunting task ahead, when I walked into the class to be greeted by thirty bright eyed imps in their sing song tone, “ Good Morning Creature!”
Published: 2006-06-20
Author: shivani mohan

About the author or the publisher
I am a post graduate in English Literature and have a Bachelors dehree in Hotel Management. I write poetry and articles on various subjects.

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