Gray suit lab coat style, seamed stockings and three inch black heels are set off by a crisp white French cuffed shirt, and maroon and gold tie, Sun Devils dancing about from neck to waist. She's heading to her grad student gig for one of the resorts on The Strip. Writing for the HR department mostly. She senses her tutoring job at UNLV Writing Center gained her access. She loves it. The engaging environment, the people that work in hospitality, the bustling convention goers and the cruising visitors to Las Vegas with their frozen drinks in hand. Taking pause, she feels perhaps she should wear the black, silver and red UNLV tie.
Shaking her head, "Nope, I'm going for a bit of color today." she concludes, ASU it is as her phone rings.
"This is Persephone. Yes. Oh really? Okay…." Plans changed, no time to change. As a grad student, she's signed up to substitute teach for the school system as well.
Changing directions modifying mindset. "And here we go."
Telephoning the flexible position, she tells them she'll be in for the afternoon shift. Her projects can wait a few hours. At the small sterile looking elementary school, huge juxtaposition to the Las Vegas Strip, she spies a spot. Smiling, unlike the high schools there tends to be parking. Walking through the office's doors she continues to the counter heels clacking on the overly polished asphalt tile. She's immediately addressed as the assistant quickly stands.
"I'm here to assist with Miss Budesheski's am class." she receives a slow up and down assessment from behind the desk.
His glasses low on his nose peering over the top, "Riiiiight." he continues to look at Persephone's attire.
"Can you give me the room number?"
"Oh, yeah sure. Sign here." He's now on task handing her the pen.
"Thanks." Signing and taking the sticker badge next to her name placing it at her waist right side.
She's hears the room before she finds it. Opening the door, Persephone sees a fellow grad student that has obviously been roped into the situation as well for he's no more dressed for the occasion than she is. The teacher cruises her way giving her repeated up and down glance.
"Hi… Persephone is it?" Miss B. is studying her name tag.
"Yes." Smiling. Nice to not have to correct another.
The teacher is pointing. "If you'd take that table over there. We have a teacher out so I've got both kindergarten classes today."
Persephone follows her finger thinking, "Great! Just a table of sequestered little ones to do and be with for a couple of hours." Her eyes grow wide as she spies a huge table with the center cut out.
"Oh my!" she responds heading toward the movement surrounding the table.
"Yeah." Her comrade from UNLV is laughing a bit in agreement.
The teacher didn't hear her through the chatter and clanging from the children at the play kitchen station.
Approaching, all of her little charges stop and stare. She makes introductions all around. Now to get into the middle where the grown up chair is. Picking up a tiny chair with a small child in it, she creates an opening. As quickly as she can, she's on her knees popping up through the center righting her clothes she takes a seat crossing her ankles. The little one that was temporarily displaced already bellied back up to the table.
Her cohort is laughing. "Nice!"
She smiles but doesn't make eye contact. Instead, she addresses the 24 eyes looking at her expectantly. Toys in front of them, the bin with the educational exercise at her feet. First thought to take the toys, she then thinks better of it seeing the red noses hearing slurps and coughs.
"Oh myyyy." Persephone whispers to herself.
"Oh yeah." Her teammate chimes.
Persephone's laughing. "MYOB man."
The daily dozen in front of her barrage her with, "What does that mean? Who are you talking to? Miss? Maestra?"
Persephone holds up her first finger making eye contact with each of them smiling for she enjoys tiny beings. "Place your toys under your chairs while I bring some real fun."
"Ooos and ahhh's" erupt along with more coughing and sputtering clanging as they relocate their toys, aka keep 'em busy until the Sub gets her gear.
Persephone hears a chuckle from the peanut gallery over there in the button up shirt and Derby jacket.
While the small elves, it's the holidays so she'll go with it, are taking way way too long to stow their temporary entertainment, she inspects the bin and begins to laugh for there's candy involved, Skittles to be exact.
She looks over to the other grad student that has felt shapes for his math project. He's grinning like the Cheshire Cat. She gives him a quick leer and then flashes a cheese smile.
She's thinking. "Okay, so we've got dirty hands, snot everywhere, no tissue and candy to use with this exercise. Oh, and five year olds are going to be estimating. Right on. And here we go."
"First." Her finger is up a smile while in turn peering into each child's eyes. Once their attention harnessed, she gives a simple direction. "I will provide you each a piece of paper. Please place both of your hands on the paper."
She's planned. "That will keep them from messing about too much when the candy surfaces."
Paper distributed, she raises a finger once again. Having gotten the hang of their teacher's process already, the students all look to her both hands plastered to their papers that have Gingerbread People of various sizes printed on them.
"I have some tools for you, colorful tools. They are just tools. Nothing more. Do you understand?" She looks to each of the eager little people before her. They all nod gravely, hands still frozen.
Another laugh from the felt exercise dude. Persephone decides to ignore the dig for this is important. It would be nauseating to witness consumption of said candies with the grimy paws they all are sporting.
"Okay. Here they are." And she exposes the hidden bowl that was balancing on her lap. It is fully out for inspection.
Another round of "Oooos and Ahhhs" ensue.
Chuckle from behind her somewhere. She's remaining focused for she's got gold and they are miners for certain, eyes wide on their booty.
"I have good news." They all smile, hands still bonded to their papers. "After we finish with these tools, the reward is Skittles. Not these tools mind you." She scans for understanding. They are all nodding their heads.
She divvies out the candy. Index finger up, she notices itchy hands about the table. Directions are given along with a demonstration of estimation using the colorful tools piled before each of them.
"Now get to it." she says lowering her finger. She continues to encourage them not to eat their tools and to wait for their prize.
The child closest to her left has a question, she smells candy on his breath. Two others begin laughing with colored teeth. Another pretends a cough and shoves the lot in his mouth. Learning quickly, three more take their neighbor's cue and begin coughing.
Feeling a little poke on her shoulder, Persephone looks to the quiet girl on her right.
Her pupil smiles, "Oh Miss Hughes, I want to eat my tools so bad." She's pleading.
"Pinal," Persephone responds in earnest. "if you can learn to delay gratification at the age of 5, you will rule your world as an adult."
From behind her, the chap enjoying the felt shapes math exercise calls out, "I'm sure she got that." with a bit of sarcasm.
Pinal takes in a deep breath and sighs. With gusto she proclaims, "I LOVE you Miss Hughes!" with a beaming smile.
Persephone gives the little one a hug smiling; and yet thinking, this suit is going to the dry cleaners.
Play so important in adulthood. Studies show that children laugh 300-400 times a day. Adults laugh 17.5 times a day.
The Nine play their game, The Cultivation, constantly. Laughing and making jokes with mechanisms that have made the grade, it's even more entertaining when the players survive. For a bit of a taste: The Nine Trilogy
Don't we all have moments with wee ones? Do tell.
Be seeing you tomorrow.
Cheers and best,
Telling Tales | Whispering Secrets
Day 7 of 365 Orbit
Ps- The current serial short story for Fellow Travelers and subsequent tiers: Elvis is in the Building In the great mausoleum, someone is crying uncontrollably. She steps out onto the cemetery grounds heading up the hill to investigate….
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