Chapter 1:

Break time

Classroom Tales

Sometimes I wonder if school simply exists to bore some of us to death before we reach adulthood. Do teachers derive some kind of pleasure from the activity they call "teaching"? Some classes are so dull, you can't help but ponder the meaning of life. The maxim "Why are we here? Just to suffer?" hits especially hard in Maths class. It hits even harder in English class. At times like these, I'm forced to make a joke to liven the class up. But there's always that one question I'm forced to ask myself before I open my mouth: is the joke funny enough?

They say there's no harm in trying, but that's a lie. There is real harm in trying to make everyone laugh and failing spectacularly. It's worse when you're punished for "disrupting" class. The teacher doesn't realise you're doing him a favour by trying to keep yourself and your classmates awake. No, you're instantly labelled as an "unserious" student. He's oblivious to the pain we feel... the pain of having to listen to him go on and on about stuff we couldn't care less about.

Everyone was dead silent today. No one was smiling. Some had their eyes wide open, but deep down they were asleep. I was seated in the front row, so I couldn't afford to follow in their footsteps, despite how badly I wanted to.

"The past participle of the verb *** is *****."
No one cares.
We hardly ever spoke English outside of class. Even among our teachers, it was only him, our English teacher, who spoke English frequently.

"There are regular and irregular verbs. They differ in..."
Break time. Please come. Please.
I sneaked a peek at my watch, making sure he didn't notice. Just 5 more minutes till break time. Yes!

"Take out your exercise books. I want you to attempt this simple exercise within the next 45 minutes... The pass mark is 20 out of 20."
What? It's almost break time. 45 minutes is even longer than our break time.

"Um, Sir... It's almost break time," Charles informed him. For the first time, he'd actually done his job as the class captain. Sadly, he was ignored. Our English teacher had what you could call "selective hearing and sight". He only heard what he wanted to hear, and saw what he wanted to see.

Unfazed, Charles reiterated his remark with a little more force behind his words, "Sir, it's almost break time."

He was truly the voice of the people, everyone's ears perked up. Those half-asleep were jolted awake. Everyone watched the ongoing exchange with deep interest. I respected him before, but now I respected him proper.

Our English teacher heard this one. He looked him in the eye and calmly responded, "No problem. You're free to walk out of my class."

That was the golden response no student could counter. We'd lost the battle... we never had a chance in the first place. Powerless as we were, all we could do was suck it up and stay in class. Charles sat down and took out his exercise book like the rest of us. But when the bell rang, he did the unthinkable: he got up and walked out of class.

I was astounded by that brilliant display of courage. He'd ignored the hidden meaning behind the teacher's words. Genius! Our English teacher stopped writing and just stood motionless in front of the blackboard.

"Le-Let's continue." He tried to cover up his shock, but his words betrayed his true feelings. Everyone heard him stutter. I could have sworn his eyes got a little watery. Not a minute later, Christopher, the assistant class captain, walked out.

That did it for me; I was inspired. Being the idiot that I am, I wasn't going to miss out on this. I stood up, called out to my friend Kelvin, put my hands in my pockets for dramatic effect, and together we marched out of the classroom. The girls were too goody-goody, so they all stayed in class. Not us guys, though. Nah, we all got out. We went to the park to play football, and we enjoyed it. 

The End

Classroom Tales