A Proper Education

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A Proper Education

Post  Mammona on Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:47 am

Well, it looks pleasant enough, Justin thought as he moved slowly up the steps to Winter Valley Junior High School. The buildings stretched out before him were the familiar red brick that schools has been associated with for decades. These were new, however, and each building had a modern feel to it, as if a classic car had been bought and updated with current features. The school looked quiet, with hardly any students milling about the main hallway. Justin found this odd, for at his old school, the hallway would have been alive with all manner of students who would be horsing around with each other, desperately clinging to their last few minutes of freedom before the bell rang, signifying the start of yet another long, boring school day.

Justin paused in the middle of the hallway, glancing down at the slip of paper in his hand. It was a new enrolment sheet, with his name, year level and class number. According to the management, he was to be in the room labelled ‘B6’. He raked his eyes up and down the hallway, finally spotting a golden-numbered ‘B6’ on a white door halfway up, with copious amounts of noise issuing from it. Taking a breath, Justin opened the door and stepped inside.

He immediately found himself the centre of attention. The rest of the class seemed like they were already in there. The noise died down, and stopped when Justin had entered. Now, twenty-nine sets of eyes watching him. Some eyes were interested, wanting to know more about the new arrival. Others were impassive, seemingly uninterested. Still others were openly hostile. Justin held their gazes the longest. He was not a kid to be pushed around, least of all by people he had just seen for the first time. They stared back, and a tall student in a blue shirt opened his mouth to speak. By his expression, it was nothing good.

However, the confrontation was interrupted by a voice that rang out from behind Justin. “Good morning, everyone.”

Justin turned around, and found himself looking up into the face of a large man carrying a pile of books and folders. He instinctively took a step back as the man started forward, seemingly oblivious to the student in front of him. However, as he brushed past, the man gestured with his free hand to an empty chair. “Take a seat.”

Justin raised an eyebrow, and moved to the empty chair. Sitting to his left was a small blonde boy who seemed utterly engrossed in a book. Upon closer inspection, Justin saw that it was an outdated edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. The pencil case above the book said ‘Eric’. To Justin’s right there sat a girl with nothing on her desk at all, except an empty chocolate wrapper. She spared a glance at Justin as he sat down, but then her eyes returned to the wrapper, seemingly trying to will more chocolate into it, even though it was long gone.

Meanwhile, the man at the front had placed his books on the desk and turned to face the class. He waited patiently for the noise to die down, which took a while, considering most the student paid him no heed. After a few minutes, he started speaking anyway.

“OK class, my name is Mr. Petrovich. Welcome to the start of your year here at Winter Valley Junior High.”

A few sniggers sounded from the back of the class, but were ignored. Mr. Petrovich continued on. His voice reached over the talking students, and after a while they fell silent, rather than talk over him.

“As you may or may not know, your parents have enrolled you in this school because of your bad behavioural records. You have all experienced trouble at your previous schools, whether it be confrontation, physical violence or simply general ignorance. You have been placed in this school, and this class, to remedy that.”

At this, even more sniggers sounded. Justin risked a glance around the class. He noticed the other students’ body language. The majority of them were slumped in their chairs, leaning back with an expression of careful nonchalance on their faces. This body language Justin knew well – he often exhibited it himself. These were kids who did not care about schooling, or about consequences. Here were children who did what they wanted, when they wanted. The perpetual thorn in a teacher’s side – the ‘bad kids’.

Mr. Petrovich continued. “In keeping with this school’s reputation, you will be disciplined until you learn the proper value of education.” At this, a few students leaned forward, openly confrontational. Yeah, I’d like to see you try.

“Because of the severity of your previous offences, certain…privileges… have been given to the teachers of this school. I assure you, these extra aspects of our teaching are purely for your benefit. Your parents have given their consent, of course.”

A short girl with a bandage around her knee spoke up. “What kind of aspects’re we talking about?”

Mr. Petrovich held up a hand and smiled. “Not right now. You will be given one week to settle in to your surroundings. One week to moderate your behaviour. After that, the real semester starts.”

Most of the students leaned back. Smiles of arrogance dotted their faces. They’d all heard the hollow threats before, of course. The threats had been ignored, and nothing had happened. Nothing could happen. Mr. Petrovich smiled at the sniggers, and moved to his desk. Picking up a book, he turned to face the class. His smile never wavered.

Justin leaned back in his chair, copping a last glance of the kids around him. Most of them were already settling into the usual routine of disruption, but there were a few who remained quiet. They were fixated on the teacher, and the peculiar smile that ringed his features. Something about that smile made them uneasy. Something sinister.

“Enjoy your week,” Mr. Petrovich said.
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Re: A Proper Education

Post  Quixoticus on Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:30 pm

Interesting introduction! The narration starts with a close watch on Justin, but by the end, it moves to focus on Mr. Petrovich. The narrator appears to be an omniscient surveyor who is not as interested in any particular person as much as he/she is interested in the environment and all of the people there-in (the school and the students/faculty).

I also notice the attention to detail on how splendid the school is. Based on that and the prestige that Mr. Petrovich talked about, it leads me to believe that the parents of the students are wealthy.

Not sure if you're looking for feedback/responses but I thought I would leave something.

P.S. It's good to see you posting, Mammona. Long time no see! I hope all is well.
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