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Morning Glory

Morning Coffee
Morning Coffee

–       What time do you fin­ish?

–       I’ll be done at 4 p.m.

–       Alright, I’ll pick you up in front of the Supreme Court then.

–       The Supreme Court? Where is that? We’ve never ate there, have we?

Feng bursts out laugh­ing. Right. Not a Chi­nese restau­rant but the actual Supreme Court of Canada, located right behind Indus­try Canada.

Oh crap. It’s 8:50 a.m. and my brain is still sleep­ing. I ought to wake up.

I extri­cate myself from the car, a task harder than usual con­sid­er­ing I’m hold­ing a can of Diet Coke and that my hand­bag, slung across my shoul­der, is burst­ing with col­ored fold­ers, papers, pho­to­copies and pens.

I step on the side­walk and slam the pas­sen­ger door. I stand there and root around my hand­bag and pull out a lighter. Woo hoo, first vic­tory of the day, not a small one con­sid­er­ing the mess in my bag.

I brace myself for my first class of the morn­ing. Who, why, which floor, which room? Names of stu­dents flash through my mind. Oh. Them.

I’m the teacher. What we will do today is up to me. For now, I’m just sit­ting on the con­crete low wall in front of the Min­istry, men­tally prepar­ing myself for the daily tran­si­tion. From stu­dent to teacher, from trav­eler to office worker. From being bossed around to lead­ing peo­ple. Seems like I’m going some­where. But the change is brutal.

I get my pass from the secu­rity desk and head towards the ele­va­tors. We’re about twenty peo­ple on the main floor. Every­one is hold­ing some kind of caf­feine bev­er­age and we’re all star­ing at the green ele­va­tor light. 20th. 19th. 18th. I’d take the stairs but I can’t open the back door with my vis­i­tor pass. An ele­va­tor finally makes it to the main floor and every­one sight with relief.

We cram in the ele­va­tor. The woman on my left looks anxious.

–        Are you going to the meet­ing at 10:00?

–        No, I can’t. I have French.

–        Oh.

Her co-worker nods bleakly. Every­one in the ele­va­tor nods when they hear the word “French” as if at some infi­nitely painful mem­ory. I cower back and put my hand over my top folder’s title. “Gram­maire.”
Patiently, I give advice, cheer up stu­dents who always cry in class before the exam, I explain, I dis­sect French lan­guage, I repeat again and again.

I got used to the teach­ing lingo. Like when we fill up the log book:

  • Morn­ing: oral inter­ac­tion, empha­size put on past tenses and describ­ing.”
    Trans­la­tion: “talked about shop­ping all morn­ing with­out tak­ing notes.”
  • After­noon: cul­tural activ­ity with the class.
    Trans­la­tion : “intended to go visit the Par­lia­ment again, was too hot, ended up in a nearby cof­fee shop.
  • John needs to focus on his con­ju­ga­tions and build­ing up vocab­u­lary.
    Trans­la­tion: “this idiot has been in train­ing for 5 months and still can’t make a proper sen­tence by him­self.”
  • Quizzed the class on var­i­ous gram­mat­i­cal aspects of French.”
    Trans­la­tion: “any­one? Any­one? Any­one? No one would answer even the most basic ques­tion!”

I still some­times won­der what I’m doing here. I love teach­ing. But do I belong here, between the cubi­cles and the cof­fee room?

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