Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)
TITLE: Not A Storyteller
By Bella Louise
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Unlike my mother, I do not possess the gift of storytelling. I can create well enough when my fingers hit the keyboard, but when I try to communicate those thoughts to others through the spoken word, the following happens.
“Once upon a time... no, no, that's not right.. well, there was a boy called Ben with a younger sister... who was ill... really really ill, and um the doctors didn't know what was wrong with her... well, anyway, this boy Ben was watching Newsround one day and he saw an an article about a Man telling stories in the isles of Scotland. Has anyone been to Scotland?... Oh well. Never mind. Anyway...”
Eventually, having stumbled my way through the story and maimed it unrecognisably, I stood up hastily and walked over to Josh, leaving Ruth to rescue the story, which she did expertly in a matter of moments. The expressions of confusion left the faces of my previous audience, and the class moved on to something else.
Josh reassured me that it was fine and even congratulated me on a job well done (presumably the expression on my face clearly demonstrated that I was unhappy), but I was not very much consoled. I know him well enough to know that he was just being polite. The class ran its course, and, as Josh and I were clearing up afterwards, I confessed to him that I felt like a muppet for ruining the children's story. I had already apologised to Ruth for leaving her to clear up the wreckage behind me, and she had told me to think nothing of it.
“Do you think I should be a teacher at all, if I'm such a useless storyteller?”
He didn't bother to deny that I was a rubbish storyteller this time. He looked at me (he still has to look up to talk to me, but it won't be long now before it's the other way around), and replied. “For pity's sakes, Hannah, did you become a teacher because you could talk well or because you love children?” he asked.
I shrugged sheepishly and continued with my work. As we were washing up, a girl that I used to teach and still babysit for came rushing up to me. “Aunty Hannah Aunty Hannah!” she exclaimed excitedly, or as excited as Charis ever gets (she's a very sedate little girl). I wondered what had managed to enthuse her so. She threw her arms around my legs and pushed something into my line of view. A very neat, textbook basket appeared. Everything that Charis does is neat and textbook. I admired it dutifully, before she told me that she had enjoyed today. “Your story was a bit strange,” she admitted, “but it's nice to have you back.” She walked off in a remarkably dignified way for an eight-year-old, leaving Josh smirking at me.
“I told you so,” he said unnecessarily.
“Oh, shut up,” I replied with a laugh, and flicked some washing-up bubbles at him.
I remember, now, that I didn't become a teacher because I could tell stories well. I didn't even become a teacher because my mum is one. I became a teacher because when there's the face of a child looking at you, a happy face that was previously sad, that's the best feeling in the world.
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