A new student – a short story

“Now repeat after me, A for Apple, ” said the teacher. The children repeated after him. Some were half asleep, others not exactly sure why they were parroting whatever their teacher said. The teacher’s eyes swept across his students. He had already checked the roll call for the day. All the students were present. Thirty students in a class. Six benches in all, each with five students.
“B for ball,” he said, and this time his students needed no prompting. As he walked to the back of the class, his eyes gazed at the fields at a distance. For a second. he remembered his childhood. He remembered how he had worked in the paddy fields during the day. He had completed his education by attending night school.
As he reached closer to the window, he said,” C for ?” He looked all around, but not a single child in the class responded.
“Cat. ” he heard a faint voice from outside the class. Surprised, he poked his head outside the window. He saw the school bus driver seated below his window, legs folded, a notebook in his lap and writing the alphabets.
“What are you doing there?” said the teacher.
The driver got up and apologized.
“I wanted to learn how to read and write.”
“What for?” said the teacher,” You already have a job.”
“Some of the traffic signs are in English….”
The teacher thought about it and then said.
“Ok, join the class. Sit on the last bench. I do not want you obstructing the view of the children.”
The driver smiled.
The teacher continued,” This does not mean you get to skip your day job. and you will also have to appear for the exams.”
The bus driver came in and occupied the last seat in the class. The children began laughing as they saw the tall bus driver adjust himself on the bench. He joined them in the laughter.
“D for ?” the teacher continued.

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