The Substitute Teacher: The storytelling monitor

Daniya loved to talk, so why would the ST make her the class monitor?

December 24, 2022 10:15 am | Updated 10:16 am IST

Story so far: VI C realises that without their Substitute Teacher they would never have met the boy who doesn’t eat or the girl loved by numbers.  

The students of VI C were still muttering that something would have to be done about the ST. But the mutters died away in the Games periods, which were filled with the most astonishing combination of games. Who would have thought that you could play volleyball as you skipped? But the ST had not only thought of it but also made rules!  

The mutterings were sometimes heard in Maths class, which VI C did not like. But it was difficult to mutter when calculating how long it would take to build a wall of chocolate bars or fill a pool with juice. No one remembered to complain in English because they were having too much fun.  

Sometimes, though, VI C could hear someone mutter in the silence. They knew it wasn’t the sound of protest but Daniya, who loved talking. When no one listened, she talked to herself. VI C hoped the ST would do something about it. But he didn’t and the class felt let down.

Unlikely choice

So when he appeared during a free period, the class greeted him coldly. They were free because the science teacher was busy. “What about the monitor?” the ST asked. Fingers pointed to Gavin, who began to explain why he couldn’t keep the class silent. The ST waved him to silence and announced, “You are going to have a new monitor! Daniya will be your monitor.”

Shocked into silence, VI C watched a beaming Daniya walk up to the front. “Keep them silent,” the ST told her and went away. VI C gazed at Daniya. Would she be able to stay silent? Daniya began talking, telling them a long and involved story. There was no escaping her voice which was like the constant mutter of the sea. It silenced them and made them sleepy. Before long, most of the students were yawning, their heads sinking on the hard wooden desks.  

When the next teacher came along, he was surprised to see them sitting so quietly. VI C was jolted out of its daze to find that something unexpected had happened. Instead of being scolded for being noisy, they were appreciated for being good children.  They struggled out of their sleep, looked at each other and said, “Something will have to be done about the ST!”

(To be continued) 

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