Getting to Know Mr Smith
Whilst in Greece this idea ran around my head so often I just had to write it down. It's rather Doctor Who come Waterloo Road. Please give it a go…
The corridors were unusually quiet as he made his way through the maze. His first class of his first day as a qualified teacher and he was late; ridiculously late.
The rising buzz of childish voices that lingered behind a door subsided almost instantly as he pushed it open. "Sorry about that class, unexpected traffic. Well, apologies aside I'm John Smith your new tutor." John ran a hand through his hair catching any escaping strands and surveyed his new tutor group. Twenty-seven year elevens stared unwelcomingly back.
"Are you related to Ms Smith Sir? Are you two married? Is she your girlfriend?" John's attention was caught by growing voice of a boy at the back of the room. By the time John had set eyes on him, he was standing up and was lent against the wall, enjoying the apparent discomfort and joke he had created as the class imagined their new young tutor dating the obviously older English teacher. "Is she you girlfriend?" He asked again, this time louder, as if trying to catch the attention of every person who was not yet leaning back in their chairs and jeering with him. "What you two going to get up to in the staffroom after school?"
John felt his face flush a deep scarlet, more over the embarrassment of being humiliated by his class rather than being paired with a teacher he had yet to meet.
"Are you blushing sir?" The ring leader asked casually drawing attention to John, who was slowly sinking into his chair, mortified he couldn't control his first class.
"Shut up Harry, you idiot!" A blonde girl near the centre of the class swung round and with each word her posture rose and Harry's dropped. "Of course they aren't together, they wouldn't have the same surname if they were just going out would they?! Anyway everyone knows Ms Smith is single." With that the girl tossed her head back over her shoulders and concentrated once more on the discomfited figure of John.
With the class reduced silence John rose from behind the desk, quietly regaining his dignity. "Thank you… umm?" He glanced questionably towards the girl.
"It's Rose, Rose Tyler." She told him with an accepting smile "And that prat" She shot Harry a glare "Is Harold Saxon." She told him drawing out his first name and creating an indignant growl of "Harry" arise from the back.
Gratified John flashed her swift grin, and pulling at his collar he straightened himself up. "Thank you Rose, and I'll let this go Harry. But, if you ever try something like that again in my class you will be outside this room before you know it. And that goes for the rest of you. Do I make myself clear?"
Silently the class replied with a nod and sifted their gaze away from the tall figure at the front.
"Now, shall we begin this again?"He asked as he regained his smiled and perched on the front desk. "As you all now know, I'm Mr Smith-" He paused waiting for a joke that never came and carried on "-I know Rose and Harry's, but what about the rest of your names? Let's go round the class and each of you can say your name and your favourite thing you did over the summer." It was a childish activity but the group begrudgingly did it without compliant, all rather uncomfortable about their earlier performance.
As the class slowly wandered out in an attempt to postpone their first lesson of the year, John waited at the door, viewing each member separately and trying to put faces to names.
"Rose." He murmured stopping the blonde in her tracks and pulling her aside from the rush. "Thank you" Her lips relaxed into a slight smile as he thanked her "Thanks for saving me in there."
"It's fine sir." She mumbled blushing self-consciously.
"There aren't many students who would do something like that for a new teacher – especially one that was so inexcusably late. Like me." He grinned sheepishly, leading her out the now deserted classroom.
"'s ok, apparently the roads around here are a nightmare at the mo, because they… "
"…closed Clarence Junction" They finished together and walked in an awkward silence, embarrassed by their connection. Slowly John began to laugh a childish snigger, his face distorted into a wide smile and after a moment Rose joined him and the two walked in step before the John stop at an open door.
"My first lesson, see you later" He gestured towards a classroom full of rowdy year nines chatting about the summer. "And wish me luck." He gave her one last nervous grin and swerved through the doorway.
"Good luck…" Whispered Rose under her breath somewhat later along the corridor, her mind full of the last five minutes and her face fixed with a genuine smile.
"Thanks for waiting!" Rose jumped at a sudden nudge at her back.
"Oh god, sorry." She winced turning round to find her friend standing indignantly behind her.
"Just leave me to clear up why don't you?!" Her friend threw her arms up in mock despair, and caught Rose in the face as Rose tried to wrap her arm around her.
"Sorry" Her friend linked her arm with Rose's and steered them both out the way of a group of charging year eights. "You forgot this by the way." She dug her hand in to her bag and drew out a neat, new planner.
"Thanks Martha, where am I next? Check for me – please?" Rose threw in an unnecessary whine to persuade Martha, who by that time was already flicking through the pages.
"Art." She informed Rose with a glance, knowing exactly what was going through her friends mind.
"Seriously?! Shi...sugar" Rose corrected herself due to a reprimanding nod from a passing teacher. "I am going the completely opposite way! I am never going to make it in time!" She heaved a theatrical sigh and veered suddenly in reverse, running back down the corridor shouting the same words John had earlier. "Wish me luck!"
"Good luck!" Martha laughed as she watched her friend run, legs flaring and hair dancing in the very wind she was causing. There was an enlarging ladder on Rose's tights, Martha noted and make a metal reminder to tell Rose. The patches of flushed skin clashed horrendously with the dull maroon uniform. Carefully she inspected her own legs, bumping into Harry who gave her an indignant shove against the wall bawling "Watch it, freak!" before disappearing as Ms Smith appeared.
"Do you have Mr Smith for any lessons?" Rose asked Martha in-between mouthfuls of a belated breakfast.
"Why? You want him don't you?"
"No! No, I was just curious."
"Well, I do, for physics. Every single Physics lesson." Martha smirked despite herself as Rose let out a silent sigh of disappointment.
"He's so…" Rose began, gulping back the last fragments of her Kit Kat.
"Nice?!" Martha laughed at the simplicity of the word; she could use a lot more descriptive words to describe their new tutor.
"-Well he is, isn't he? Just really, really… nice." Rose shrugged of the last word, unable to think of another that wouldn't sound like a description of a teenage crush.
An hour or so later Martha sat alone, perched high on a precariously balanced stall. She didn't mind, really. This year like most, she had searched the room for a new face, hoping to attach herself to the newcomer, but like every year there never was one. It was ok, she didn't mind. That's what she told herself. It was only a few lessons a week. At least she could concentrate, getting the grade that's what mattered. Whilst the rest of the class busied themselves with catching up she was already prepared. Her desk was decorated with an open book, the date and time already neatly scored with a line at the top a new page and her pen resting in the ridge between the sheets. Scraping her long dark hair back into a ponytail she glanced up as Mr Smith entered the room.
"Afternoon everyone. As several of you know I'm Mr Smith." John scanned the room for a familiar face, his eyes resting with a smile on Martha. Who suddenly busied herself with escapee strands of her hair, plaiting and re-plaiting, until he finally continued his introduction.
She waited until he was reading the register to look at him again. He was "nice" as Rose had called him. Both personality and looks wise.
What she found most intriguing was his smile. It was genuine and captivating. Even as he said her name "Martha Jones?" with a sing-song tone his smile was enchanting. Mortifyingly she forgot to answer, much to the amusement of the class and just stared, causing her to redden and stare firmly down at her book.
It was only when he asked his first question and no-one answered that she looked up. She waited a minute for someone else to answer and take the glory, before cautiously raising her hand in air.
"Ten points to Gryffindor!" Harry Saxons voice brought her back down to earth and she realised what she had done. There was a rule that people like her kept; never ever make yourself known to the class, be an observer, but not a participant, a rule which she had just broken.
If only Rose was in this lesson. With Rose it was different; she would stand up for Martha, no-one dared to say anything when Rose was with her. It wasn't that Martha was always shy, she could stand up for herself when she was with friends, but when she was alone in a lesson something about her shrank and she remained speechless, unable to utter a word.
"- Ah Gryffindor. Yes." John mulled over the words as if they were part of a polite conversation not a childish taunt. "My favourite house I think, brave, courageous, clever… and brilliant, of course! Yes very brilliant! Yep class this is definitely our Hermione." John grinned across to Martha, who in return gave him a shy nod of appreciation.
At the end of the lesson he caught her as she filed out. "You did well today Martha. You're obviously very bright. Keep it up and I can see you getting some remarkable results at the end of this year. "
"Thank you." She smiled a small smile of embarrassment from praise.
"Ignore Harry – You're better then to take his views to heart. Now, would you show me the way to room 15? I've got a meeting in there and I'm still struggling to find my way round this maze! – Thanks" Martha offered to take a scope off the pile of books which were leaning precariously in his hands.
"-So what did you think of my lesson today? Did I make all the classic mistakes?" He asked as she navigated their way through the crammed corridors.
"No, I think you did ok. It was interesting and funny." She told him, through truth be told she had spent the majority of the rest of the lesson replaying what he had said to her over in her mind. He had called her brilliant. Well not just her, all Gryffindors, but well, still he had called her brilliant. Even now her face broke into a grin as she remembered it. "You even caught Cassandra's attention."
"Blonde, pretty, sitting in the middle?" Who also spent all lesson trying to catch your eye?
"Oh, her. Oh did I?!" He pictured the same girl who he had just passed publicly and intensely kissing a sixth former in the corner.
"Yes, yes you did. And this is room 15" She gestured triumphantly towards a large room slowly filling with teachers.
"Thanks Martha… Jones wasn't it?"
"Yes sir." She nodded turning away from the door and bumping into Rose.
"Martha!" The blonde scoped her into a light hug "I've been looking for you everywhere! What were you doing all the way down here?"
"Sorry - I was helping Mr Smith."
"John? You were helping John?" Rose asked trying to mask her surprise and jealousy, and failing. Why couldn't she have John as a teacher? You hardly see your tutor, once a morning for fifteen minutes at the most. It was hardly anything. It wasn't fair. "See you later." He told her "see you later." He told her "see you later." She kept replaying the words in her mind and each time her smile grew at the memory.
Next chapter complicates things, there's Mademoiselle Poisson the new French teacher, a certain Mickey Smith and just a hell of a lot of teenage hormones. Tell me what you think, should I carry on?