So that night James decided that it was time for something to happen to Miss Smith. He was so mad at her that he would go to any lengths to get revenge on her. He knew that the only way this would happen was going to go to the head teacher. It had been Miss Jones who had told the class to tell a teacher if anyone bullied them. James was clever: he knew what Miss Smith did to him was hardly different to bullying.
Mrs Parker was the head teacher. Everyone in James’ class hated her since she started a rule saying you were not allowed to bring coke, crisps, sweets and for some strange reason, chewing gum, into school.
So after school, James knocked on her office door. ‘Enter,’ she said. She looked up when he came in.
‘Um…Hi Miss,’ he said uncertainly. ‘Er – I’m James and – er – I’ve come to you because there’s a teacher who isn’t very nice to me.’
‘Well – er – Miss Smith always bullies me in class. Like yesterday, she laughed at me just because I didn’t know what a baby horse was called.’
‘So it was Miss Smith was it?’
‘Well the thing is, James, I’m going to need proof so either you need a classmate to tell me about this. Meanwhile, I’ll try to talk to her about this, okay James?’
‘Yes, okay Miss’
Over the next few days James was actually happy that Miss Smith was picking on him even more than usual which surely meant that the head teacher had already talked to her. However, as she had asked him to get some proof, she probably couldn’t take any action yet.
But his classmates were picking on him just as much, and that was what made James miserable at school more than anything else. Everyone was bullying him so much since their last lesson with Miss Smith when they had been reading a story called “The Ugly Duckling” whose name just happened to be James (as Miss Smith pointed out very loudly). James suspected if he had a surname, it would probably be “Machen”.
And on the lesson before that, Miss Smith had asked an extremely hard maths question (he hadn’t realised it was maths when she had asked) which he didn’t answer correctly. She then moved aside revealing the answer that was on the board. She asked the rest of the class and they got it right.
James decided to visit Mrs Parker again. After being allowed in, she looked up unsurprisingly at James as though she had been expecting him.
‘Ah, hello James,’ she said kindly.
‘Er hello Miss. I was just wondering if you had talked to-‘
‘Yes I have talked to her James,’ she interrupted ‘and from what she told me it seems that she has not been doing her job that well. What we need is proof, James and the only way we can get that is if we record one of your classes with her. You however don’t need to do anything. I’ll do it all by myself.’
James had no idea what she was going to do. But he went into Miss Smith’s lesson anyway. As James entered, he didn’t see any change in how Miss Smith looked at him.
‘We will be revising on how to write the alphabet today,’ she said ‘And I hope that you’ve been practising at home like I told you to do.’
James had remembered to learn the alphabet.
As the lesson wore on, Miss Smith didn’t talk to him once. She didn’t even look at him. This meant that he was able to finish his work very easily. He couldn’t have made more than three mistakes. This, it turned out, was not good enough for Miss Smith.
‘What is this, James?’ she asked.
‘The alphabet,’ he replied.
‘Oh, really?’ she sneered (by now the whole class was looking at them) ‘Well as you can see you haven’t written the letter “M” properly.’
James looked down at his work. Now he saw it – his M’s looked more like “N”.
‘Well, I guess this isn’t good enough, is it James?’
‘Yes it is!’
‘No it is not.’ And she ripped his work up.
The next day they had assembly. There was a surprise waiting for them (or rather for James). The head teacher said:
‘Unfortunately I have some very bad news for you. Miss Smith, our English teacher has left.’
After that she explained to them why this had happened. She did not tell them how she had found out about what Miss Smith did to some pupils. But at the end of the assembly she told James to stay behind.
‘I’m guessing that you’re wondering how I found out, James?’
‘Yes, Miss,’ he replied.
‘Well I wouldn’t like to take long but it was very simple: I recorded your last class!’
James already knew.