Ms. Sharon hesitated before entering the class. It was her first day as a substitute teacher. She murmured a prayer and put up a brave face before entering the classroom. She had been assigned the most infamous class; the naughty students were every teacher’s nightmare. They were rude, unkind and noisy.
Life had taught her to look beyond labels.
“Good morning, class,” she greeted the children with a bright smile. As expected, the 9-year-olds paid no attention to her and continued talking amongst themselves.
“Oh good! No one is watching!” She spoke loud above the din.
“Now, now! Let’s make magic!” With a bang, she placed an overstuffed bag on the table. Ignoring the curious children, she fished out a magician’s hat and cloak.
“Ah! Blue round box, yellow square box. Perfect!”
She scratched her head and mumbled, “Test tubes?”
“Miss, are you looking for these?” A tiny hand held up a shining tube.
“Yes! Would you like to be my assistant while I make my magic potion?”
“Magic?!” The entire class roared in unison.
“Shh… not so loud!” She ran towards the door and shut it close. “It’s a secret!”
A wide grin filled up her face, for now she had their attention. She spooned out something from the many boxes one by one and poured them into the test tube. “Darling, would you like to stir this?” She passed on the test tube to her little assistant.
“Stir what?” The kid’s voice rose in amazement. “It’s empty,” he snickered.
“Oh no, it isn’t my love. You need magic to see it. Wait, let me show.”
She stirred the test tube, “Aabkra-ka-daabra,” and gulped the invisible contents. “Ah! I feel wonderful!” She exclaimed, much to the amusement of the students.
“Me! Me! Me” A chorus of voices rang in the classroom. “Here! Drink it up!” she passed on the test-tube one by one to all the students.
“Did you feel the magic?”
“No, Miss!” The kids replied. Their faces cloaked by sadness.
“Hmm.. let me see.” Ms. Sharon took out a faded journal from the bag. “Wait! Let me read it out for you.”
She read in a pretend voice, “Hail to the glorious explorer. Thee have laid hands on the happiness potion. The potion shalt work only on the chosen Wise one.”
She paused, “Anyone wise here?”
The kids moved their heads from one side to another.
“Okay, let me read some more.”
“Thy shall become wise by being kind to others. Calm in moments of worries. And patient in the face of hardships.” She clasped the journal close.
“Ah, that seems easy, isn’t it children? Kind, calm and patient! Can we try to practice these? Only then the magic would work!”
“Yes, miss!” Twenty odd voices cheered.
“Alright then, let’s take out our science books. And find the magic there!”
Ms. Sharon beamed at the kids. She firmly believed every kid was kind and lovable, they just need to be reminded of that.