Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Right and Left (07/31/14)
- TITLE: My Kingdom for a Shuttle
By Veronica Winley
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The school was old and sprawling, built during a time when classes were small, there was plenty of staff and children obediently followed directions. Now, getting her group to the other end of the building, down a flight of stairs and along another corridor, felt like a field trip to the museum.
Occasionally she thought how nice it would be to actually go to the museum or the zoo, but with severe budget cutbacks, there simply wasn’t enough money for assistant teachers or field trips. On days like this, however, she was almost glad. If getting them from one end of the building to another was trying, imagine what it would be like out in the invigorating, kid-energizing fresh air. She wondered if that was why so many schools had abandoned recesses. They couldn’t get the kids back inside easily.
As she walked the line, separating troublemakers and calming the fidgets, she imagined all of them walking with shackles around their knee socks or high top sneakers; heavy shackles, so they could only shuffle along slowly. Guilt trod immediately on the heels of that image and she shook her head and smiled ruefully. Twenty eight seven- year- olds were simply too many for one class – or one teacher.
“Ok Class. Remember the hallway rules. Keep to the right, so opposite traffic can get by. Everyone raise their right hand.” All but three complied. “Good. Please stay on that side.” She asked Kimberly, the tallest girl in the class, to be her helper and go to the end of the line to “encourage” (emphasis was put on the word encourage) her classmates to keep on the correct side.
Kimberly usually did exactly what she was told and had moved so close to the right that her arm brushed the wall. Judy should have been grateful for such a model of good behavior but the child was also prim and bossy. Now, with a superior smirk, she walked to the back of the line and the class headed to the auditorium.
All went well for a while, but then the line started undulating and the temptation to stretch arms across the left space, in an effort to touch the other side, was too great to resist.
Kimberly was not having it.
“Miss Judy said to keep right, you guys! What’s wrong with you?!” Her voice pitched high with annoyance, she stepped out and walked halfway down the line. To make her point, she shoved one boy back in place. Unfortunately, he bumped into the boy in front of him who pushed back. With more hilarity than heat, a shoving match ensued, accompanied by an increase in noise.
Classroom doors began to open as Judy halted the line and walked back to where the fracas was in full swing. She spared a glance for Kimberly, who stood back with a scowl on her face and her fists balled up in frustration.
“Enough! Everybody back in place. NOW!” She waited as the noise level immediately dropped, except for the sound of shuffling feet. She turned to the “hall monitor.” “Kimberly, I’m very disappointed in you. I said encourage, not push. How would you like it if every time I wanted you to do something I pushed you? Now please get back in line.” She held up her hand to silence the beginning excuses and watched as the little girl stomped back to her place.
Standing with her hands on her hips, Judy looked up and down the line. “Who wants to see the show in the auditorium?” Twenty eight hands went up. “Well, Mr. Gilford would love to have some help in the library. This is my last warning. Act right or you will be left. Do you understand me?” Twenty five heads nodded. Three had to think about it.
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