Meanwhile, somewhere in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, Julia and her friends sat in front of the office of the principal of Criterion High School awaiting the man’s arrival. Julia looked at her friends and smiled. They had called her a disillusioned pretty-face when she told them that they would be doing their final teaching practice at the prestigious CHS. Julia knew people and people knew her, but none of them took her seriously.
She had toured Abuja to a point where she knew what was happening. She knew who was calling the worthy shots and where the real actions were. She saw Abuja as her chess board and she intended making it her own. No matter whom she was playing with, she would always hold high aces.
The students of Criterion High School trooped into their school compound. They were chatting, running, screaming and making happy noises. The atmosphere was that of a happy Monday morning that was preceded by a wonderful weekend. It reflected on the faces of the students as they filed into their various classes to begin another term of the school session. Julia and the others watched silently as the students went about their various activities.
“These students are many. They are probably as many in each class. How do they want us to cope with such large classes?” Julia lamented, facing Tonia who just smiled and nudged Nike to reply.
Nike looked at Julia, made a face and told her to ask Lola instead of them. Lola was not aware of their conservation or she pretended not to. She just concentrated on her nails.
“Lola, what class do you intend to teach?” Julia asked Lola.
Lola stopped filling her nails and looked up. She looked at Nike, then back at Julia. She shrugged and continued filing her nails. Julia moved closer to her, snatched her nail file and repeated her question. Lola frowned and pointed a warning finger at Julia who stood firmly in front of her without blinking.
“Okay. If you must know, I think I’ll take a senior class. You know you can’t handle such a class due to the fact that you are kind of slow,” Lola answered with a funny grin on her face. She had intended to infuriate the Julia.
Julia opened her mouth as if to speak but she said nothing. She threw the nail file at Lola and walked towards Tonia and Nike. The two ladies then burst into laughter as Julia got near them. Julia hissed and started towards the other girls who were just looking on as everything happened.
“I’m sorry for keeping you waiting. I’m Mr. Benson, the vice principal of the school. Please, come with me,” a man said directing them towards an office adjacent to the principal’s office.
The office had a big mahogany table, two high back chairs faced the table and one office chair on which Mr. Benson sat on. The man started talking to someone through the intercom on the table. A few minutes after and he adjusted his tie and faced the people in front of him.
“Yes. Welcome everyone. The principal is not here right now and he may not be here today. So I’ll be the one to assign you to your classes and the number of periods you’d take per day…”
“Excuse me sir,” Julia said, bringing a frown on the other faces. A reaction she noticed but chose to ignore.
“Yes, Miss….,” replied Mr. Benson, looking into the letter of introduction he had picked up.
“I am Julia sir. Julia Anozie.”
“Okay. Miss Anozie. What was it you wanted to say?” Mr. Benson asked.
“Yes, will there be accommodation for those of us that are not resident in this town sir?” she asked. Mr. Benson smiled as he picked up the phone. He talked to someone for some minutes and replaced the receiver.
“Miss. Anozie. There is an empty staff quarters for you and the others that are involved. The men however will have to… Oh, welcome, Mrs. Adesola,” said Mr. Benson as a woman entered the office and stood by his table ignoring the student-teachers.
“Mr. Benson, you called for me sir.”
“Yes. These are our new student-teachers. I would like you to make provisions for them to occupy the vacant flat beside the girls hostel,” the man started.
“Please send some senior students there to clean up the place and bring the key over by two. Everyone, this is Mrs. Adesola, our female hostel manager,” Mr. Benson concluded.
“Good morning,” greeted the student-teachers except Julia who just nodded.
“Good morning. You’re welcome,” replied Mrs. Adesola as she walked out of the office. Julia made up her mind that she didn’t like that woman.
Mr. Benson allocated Tonia to a junior class to teach social studies. Lola wanted a senior class but Mr. Benson declined based on the fact that she only minored in Economics which disqualified her, So she was given a junior class. Julia was also asked to teach business studies at the junior class. Nike and another girl were given the senior classes because they majored in Economics.
This didn’t go well with Lola; she frowned when Julia made a funny face at her. Mr. Benson dismissed them and they followed another teacher who was to show them around the school premises.