The door was open. Another grave mistake on my part. I will pay for it dearly. Best to avoid the incident than do damage control. I heard a quick tap on the door and it flung open. Here came Nasser. What an odd time for him to appear. I thought ‘oh no.’ In as much as I welcome visits from my previous students but not at this time of the day. It was just past period two and I was going to teach period 3. I would have liked to have some respite, a break, to catch up with some grading and emails.
“Good morning Mr. Blue.”
“Good morning Nasser.”
“Very good to see you.”
“Very good to see you too.”
Thoughts flew through my head. He should be at work now. What was he doing here?
“Nasser you should be at work now.”
“Yes Mr. Blue but I am not at work today. I am too tired.”
“What? You are too tired. Do you have such luxury?”
“Yes teacher I have. They have cut my salary, cut my salary and cut my salary. Me I am tired. Too much work.”
I was like darn!
He carried on “me I work one week and two weeks, stay home and sleep.”
“But why would you do that?” I queried him.
I knew that this was the kind of stuff he would do. He had those tendencies in the classroom then. When the work got a little too much, he would stop writing in protest and would just sit there and stare at you with his glasses perched on his nose.
One incident came to my mind. Nasser was always quick to do his task. He was suffering from some sort of deficiency called partial inattentiveness. When I was explaining the task, he would automatically assume that he understood the task and would scurry to perform the task. In the next few moments he would yell “Teacher teacher. Mr. Blue, me finish”.
On this particular occasion, he brought his notebook to me with such energy and enthusiasm after about six minutes of having set the class off with the task. If you were a genius, you would need at least 15 minutes of concentration and focus to finish that task. I studied the book.
“Nasser, that was quick”
“Yes teacher me finish the work”
“But for this task, you need a solid thirty minutes to finish the task.”
“Me finish teacher, check book and mark for me correct.”
I looked at the book and placed some dots here and there and said “I will explain the task again to you.”
“Me wrong teacher? This not correct?”
“Nasser because you did not do what I asked you to do. You thought it was the same like yesterday’s work.”
“But me fill every space on the chart” he argued.
“I have seen it, but you need to work out the details first before you fill it. Example Sarah bought five pairs of shoes, three pairs of black and two pairs of red. The red shoes cost $20 a pair and the black ones cost $17 per pair. How much did Sarah pay for the shoes?”
“I put it Mr. Blue, $37”
“Not exactly Nasser. That is what I am trying to make you understand.”
“So, I am wrong?”
“The information is inaccurate, you just need to read it again and you will get it right.”
He flung his book at the desk and retorted “I am not doing again. Me I do everything and now everything wrong, khalas!”
So listening to him now narrate, how difficult the work was; which has consequently led him to working one week and resting two weeks; I was rolling on my chair with laughter.
“What if they sack you?” I asked.
“For what?” he retorted.
“For taking too much time off work.”
“Me, my uncle son, the boss for my office. Me not get sacked. Only cut salary, cut salary.”
“Wow!” I exclaimed. “But these were the very skill sets I tried to imbibe on you guys, when you were with me.”
“Yes I know teacher, but me not listen that time, that is why is big problem now. You talk to us that time, listen, do your work, we make mistake, you say do correction, we say enough, too much writing in Mr. Blue class, now we go to work, and we say same thing, work too much. Anyways now me I am looking for another job?”
“I want job as firefighter.”
“Because firefighter stay in office, cross legs, sleep and earn salary. Maybe one fire once a year.”
I was so amused.
“Nasser, would you like to go and say hello to Ms. May.”
“Yes, me I go and say hello to Ms. May.”
“Thanks for stopping by to say hello and have a good day”
“Bye bye teacher Blue.”