“Jacob, what’s two times two?” Laura asks from where she is standing on the other side of the little boy’s desk. This is the first day of the newly set up school and she is trying to assess what varying levels her students are all at. The boy that she is standing in front of is eight years old and the ages of all her students in this class are between six and twelve. Her older students are between the ages of thirteen and eighteen and she teaches them in the afternoon. Some of the students she helped teach on New Caprica, but most she didn’t. She knows it’s going to be tough teaching kids that are all at different levels depending on what kind of education they received while they were in space, but the outcome at the end will be worth it. It’s always worth it.
“I don’t know,” Jacob says after taking a long moment to think about it. He looks frustrated with himself, almost like he knows that he should know this.
“Don’t worry, Jacob. Everyone in this class is at a different level. I’m just trying to determine where everyone is at right now and then we’ll start learning. You’ll learn how to multiply, I promise.” Laura ruffles the boy’s hair and then moves on to the next kid.
Once she has finished asking all the kids a few questions, she divides them into four groups, mostly according to their age, and sits them in four different sections of the tent. “Alright, first we’re going to start with math today. I want the left side of the class to get out a piece of paper and write out the multiplication table as a review because I know you know it. The right side of the class, I am going to teach you multiplication.”
“Miss. Laura?” a little girl asks from the back of the class.
Laura thinks her name is Lucy but she can’t quite remember. She’s not one of the students she taught on New Caprica. “Yes?”
The little girl glances down at her desk in shyness but then looks up and says, “Weren’t you the president?”
“Yes, I was,” Laura states, nodding her head.
“Then why are you teaching us?”
“That’s a very good question,” Laura says and then leans on the front of her desk because she knows this is going to be a long conversation. A conversation with a curious child is never a quick one. “Before I was president, I was the secretary of education. So I helped the president at the time by advising him on policies and programs that had to do with school. The way that I got that job was because I used to be a teacher back when I was younger. Back on Caprica, I went to school like you all are doing right now and then I went to college, which is like a more advanced school for older students. That is where I learned how to be a teacher. I always loved working with kids and after I stopped teaching I forgot how much I loved it. But now that I’m not president anymore, I’ve gone back to doing what I love. And that is working with you wonderful kids!”
“Oh, I didn’t know you used to be a teacher. I heard my mom and dad talking the other night and they said you had cancer. What’s that?”
Laura sighs because she knew this was going to be talked about at some point. She just hoped that it wouldn’t be on the first day. “Well, later in your schooling when we start talking about science and getting sick that will be brought up, but I’ll tell you a little about it now. Your body is made up of millions of tiny things called cells. And more cells are created normally. But sometimes your body messes up and makes too many cells and these cells never stop being made. The number of cells grows and it becomes out of control. That’s what cancer is. These cells are bad and they harm your body. They harm it so much that if you don’t get the cancer treated, you’ll die. And sometimes even when you are getting treated you still die because it’s just too much for your body. That’s what I had, twice in fact. Both times, I was about to die and then a miracle happened and I was cured. When we landed here, I was almost dead. But then a miracle happened and I survived. The cancer that was in me is gone. The bad cells are all gone.”
“So you’re not dying anymore?”
“No, I’m not,” Laura says with a smile.
“I’m glad,” the little girl says and then seems to be done with her questions.
“Alright, now let’s get to work.”
As Laura teaches the younger children how to multiply, the older children work on their multiplication tables. Just as she is about to teach the children how to multiply with the number nine using the hand trick, one of the older boys interrupts her and tells her that he never learned how to do that. Once she has the entire class pulled together again, she teaches them all how to do the nifty little trick. After they finish up with multiplication, they have a fifteen minute break and then it’s back into the classroom for writing.
At about noon, the parents all come to pick up their kids. Just as Lucy is about to leave, she runs back over to Laura and says, “Miss. Laura, I’m glad you got better.” She gives her a quick hug, smiles up at her, and then runs back over to her parents.
Laura turns back into the tent with a small smile on her face and starts getting ready for her afternoon class with her older students.
As Laura is packing up the supplies in the classroom, Ellen comes by to the tent to see how the first day of school went. “Hello Laura. So, how was it?”
Laura finishes erasing the chalkboard and then turns to Ellen. “It went well. The kids are very eager to learn and I love being back in the classroom. It’s going to be difficult because they are all at different levels in their education, but I think it will be fine. The first part of both sections was spent figuring out what all they knew. One little girl, Lucy, decided to ask me personal questions this morning. She asked about me being a teacher and then she asked about my cancer and what it was. I suppose those questions were needed though because it helps them to know who’s teaching them. Other than that, we started on math and on a little bit of writing and then we were mostly working on math and science in the afternoon. This is going to be very good for them, Ellen. They needed this.”
“I’m glad everything is going well. I’ve heard that Lucy is a bit of a talkative one once she gets started. Anyway, I just stopped by to make sure everything went fine. Bill is waiting for you out in front of the tent. See you tomorrow, Laura.”
“Bye.” Laura waits for Ellen to leave and then heads out of the tent herself. She meets Bill a couple steps from the opening of the tent.
“How was your day?” Bill says after he kisses her in greeting.
“I’ll tell you about it later. Let’s go visit Kara.”
The Beauty of Love by Kaitlynnlovescats96