April Showers by Minim
Summary:

Len Maynard's first teaching post is not at the CS, but at a different boarding school entirely. But how will she find this other school as opposed to the Chalet School?


Categories: Ste Therese's House Characters: Len Maynard, OC
School Period: Future
School Name: None
Genre: School Story
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 3 Completed: No Word count: 2616 Read: 4947 Published: 19 Oct 2014 Updated: 21 Oct 2014

1. Chapter 1 - A Walk by Minim

2. Chapter 2 - Assembly by Minim

3. Chapter 3 - Arrival by Minim

Chapter 1 - A Walk by Minim

It was the beginning of September. The fields and trees held a glorious green and a gentle breeze blew a ripple in the grass, cooling all of those who meandered in the warm sun.

Mary Helena Maynard was one of those enjoying the day's sun. It was the day before term started, only, this time, she would be on the other side of the desk; a teacher for the enquiring minds of young girls. Yesterday she had arrived here, to Askell School in a vague region of England, and having settled in to her room and talked with colleagues she had fancied a ramble around the local area.

University had been an interesting experience, she pondered, as she wandered through the cool field. Some things had been a bit of a shock, especially at first when she was new to it all, but she had adapted, made changes, and made plenty of friends too. She'd changed somewhat since then, which accounted for the extra 'a' she'd put on her nickname to become Lena.

Lena gave a thought to the Platz and her Reg. She wondered what he'd be doing right now. Probably some important doctoring work. She hoped he'd be able to get some time off at some point, enough for him to come up for a visit. Maybe they would live together in the area someday, but Reg would need a job and a decent place to live first.

Maybe it would have been easier if she had decided to go back to teach at the Chalet School. She knew she'd be welcomed with open arms, and she had a good handle on the customs of the school, not to mention that she'd be familiar with most, if not all, of the teachers. But, she reminded herself firmly, she had decided she wasn't going to go back there yet. She needed to do it on her own, to prove to herself that she was a worthwhile teacher. Never mind the fact that plenty of the pupils, especially the older ones, knew her as a Prefect and before, and besides, it would be off-putting to her sisters, especially Felicity.

Felicity was now a Lower IVth girl, and Lena remembered how excited Felicity was about the new term, and seeing Jean Morrison again, and chatting with both Jean and Lucy Peters for most of the time. And Jack Lambert would be there, as a Prefect. Jack herself had been writing to Lena, and she had many concerns over the coming year as a Prefect. Lena had reassured her, telling her that particularly over the past few years she had grown up as a person, and was now ready to deal with such a challenge.

She'd been receiving a lot of correspondence from Con, Margot and Steve too. Con had taken up some journalism work for a small newspaper, and seemed to be enjoying it. Quietly, she was also working on a first novel, but she had told no-one but her triplet sisters this. It was exciting to read as Con made progress on it, working at the difficult bits, working with her characters. Margot was still at university, working hard at her Medicine course. And Steve was starting his course soon too, and was hoping university was all it's cracked up to be.

Lena made her way through a fence, ending up in a small street full of local shops. Smiling and being polite, she thought about her present situation instead. Askell School was a large girls' boarding school, with over 500 pupils to its name. It taught girls from 11-18 years old, with three classes per year from I to V years, and a bundle of classes for the two VIs depending on what they studied. There were five boarding houses with a mix of students and a few teachers in each. Lena herself was in Noether House, and having heard of the House Competition she wondered how exactly it worked, and even hoped a little that Noether House would do well.

All the same, she was nervous. Tomorrow, the hoards of girls would come, and she'd be introduced to them all. And the next day, she'd meet her own form, IIIb, who would be thirteen going on fourteen, one of the most difficult ages there was. She hoped they wouldn't be too much of a hard time.

 

Chapter 2 - Assembly by Minim
Author's Notes:

I'm betting you all want more, then. :D

It was the next day, and Lena was being briefed by the head of the III and IV forms, Julia Charleston.

"The girls will all be arriving between 1 and 2 pm," Julia was saying. "At 2:15 they all go to assembly, and we'll be there to make sure they do - some of the girls will be in their form-rooms, but Sarah and Nicola always cover them. Miss Ashley, as Headmistress, will be there, and the girls are expected to be completely silent from the moment they enter the Hall. Sometimes you may have to give them a quick 'Quiet!', but that's about it. Teachers have seats around the outskirts of the hall as well as on the dais - as you're new you get a dais seat today, but after that it's a game of chance, unless you happen to have to do some speaking. Today's assembly will have a whole school register, after which announcements about Prefects will be made - next year you'll be able to meet with us and discuss them, but seeing as you don't know any of the girls at this stage it's a bit pointless involving you. Keep an eye out for your form's Form Prefect, she'll be one of the first students you're familiar with. After Prefects, there will just be general announcements - keep an ear out for when Miss Ashley introduces you, because you'll want to stand up then. After announcements everyone is dismissed, and Supper is at six within each boarding house. Any questions?"

Lena had plenty of questions, but just shook her head and smiled, and a couple of hours later she found herself on the front drive, watching as the first bus load of students moved up the drive.

"Girls who take the train have to bus up here," May Doncaster, a maths mistress who Lena found herself chatting to a lot, said. "It's a bit of a way to the station, see. After this first bus load of students we get a trickle of cars - watch out for the parents, they always have about a million questions about their dear Donna or their darling Deirdre,"

The girls were now walking by the teachers, some of them chatting with a teacher of choice briefly. Noticing how many looks she was getting, Lena inwardly squirmed and put her hands behind her back. Some of them went indoors to the form-rooms, while others meandered outside, waiting for friends to appear.

The next hour was busy. A fair few buses came up to the school, but also plenty of cars. Some of the parents were just aching to tell Lena how their terrific Tina was 'special,' but most of them were more interested in saying goodbye to their kids than in the teachers. Some of the girls took an interest in Lena too, asking her questions about what she taught and so on, which Lena took a joy in answering. There were plenty of shrieks and shouts too, of newcomers and to newcomers. All of the I form were sent off to a point where their Form Mistresses were, and any other new girls arriving by car, Lena was glad to see, were quite quickly taken under the wings of the students.

By the time 2:15 came the drive was packed with gossiping students. "Time to herd the sheep in," May said to Lena.

The mistresses moved to get the girls into the building and the hall. Some of the girls needed a reminder to be quiet at this stage; the result of seven weeks of not having to obey school rules. Lena took her seat on the dais, and May managed to sneak in a seat beside her. On Lena's other side was a man with greying hair. He grunted as Lena sat down next to him, prompting May to mutter "Don't mind him" so that he wouldn't hear.

"Good afternoon girls," Miss Ashley said, as the last of the girls took her seat in the back of the hall. "I trust you've all had a pleasant journey, and you're all ready after that holiday to return to the fold of work once again,"

Miss Ashley said a few more words before one of the secretaries passed a list to Miss Ashley, and she started taking a register. Lena kept a keen eye out for who answered to what name.

"April Bennett," called out Miss Ashley. No-one responded. "April Bennett?" she asked.

Nobody responded to that name. Miss Ashley gave it a short while, before going onto Clara Benson, apparently unconcerned. The rest of the register went smoothly, and the list of names was passed back to the secretary, who left the stage. The Deputy Head followed the secretary out of the hall.

Miss Ashley moved onto the Prefects. The main Prefect body consisted of nine Upper VI girls, with a Head Girl, Deputy Head Girl, Sports Prefect, and six other Prefects, all of whom had badges. In addition, each house had a team of four House Prefects from the VIth, and each team had a Head of House. The Dormitory Prefects were girls from every year group who would otherwise be sleeping in the dormitories they were Prefects of. And, of course, Form Prefects were mainly well-behaved girls in each form. Lena noted that her form's Form Prefect was Clarissa Vanes, a curly ginger girl with heaps of freckles and a big smile.

The other announcements started out with some generic news items about old girls, the school magazine, and suchlike. Lena felt herself becoming more and more nervous with each notice.

"And finally, I'm sure many of you will have noticed that we have a new staff member with us today," Miss Ashley said. She then signalled to Lena to come up to the front of the dais, which Lena did.

"This is Miss Maynard," Miss Ashley said. "And she will be taking Languages from now on," she turned to Lena. "We hope you enjoy your time teaching here at Askell School," she said, before turning back to the girls. "Let's give Miss Maynard a warm welcome,"

The girls applauded the new mistress, who could feel herself going violently red. She felt quite relieved when everyone was dismissed.

 

Chapter 3 - Arrival by Minim
Author's Notes:

And more! :)

Lena pondered the rest of that day the following morning before she needed to get up.

The main talk in the staff room had been April Bennett's lack of appearance. Attempts to contact her parents had been fruitless, and she did not put in an appearance all through the rest of the day. Concerns were rising fairly quickly, and they were not diminished at all by the very brief message by Mrs Bennett that they were 'delayed.'

Dining with the girls had been a new experience. Firstly, the girls had just been allowed to sit which ever way they liked, as long as they were at their form's table. There were about fifteen girls per form, as the girls dined in their own houses, and the two lowest forms had supervision from the mistresses. The rest of the hall had only the supervision of the mistresses at the staff table, and they were keeping only a small amount of their focus on the girls. The Prefects themselves helped to serve the rest of the students. There were two dishes available, one with meat and one without, and while everyone was allowed a choice of water, juice, or milk, only the older girls and the staff were permitted tea. Lena took the tea, but in her heart she longed for the milky coffee of her own school days.

When everyone was served the most senior mistress in the room - Signora Armani, who was head of the languages department - signalled to the girls for quiet. Most of the girls took this as a cue to recite their prayers, and Lena followed the lead of the mistress next to her. However, she could clearly see that some of the girls were staring at their food, twiddling their thumbs, or twirling their hair in their fingers. The idea that some people just didn't say prayers at mealtime had not escaped her in these past few years and she was now completely fine with it, but she would have expected that in a school mealtime prayers would be part of the bill for everyone, whether it was one person speaking for the room or everyone putting their hands together. But there was no point making a fuss of it, clearly it was a part of this school's culture.

Back to the present, and Lena now was getting along with the morning routine she was so accustomed to. It never took her very long to get up, and it gave her time in the morning to breathe a little. She giggled at the thought of what May had had to say about getting up in the morning - it was clear that she was not a fan by any means.

After a good Breakfast and a quick assembly, the girls were all sent back to their houses to complete their unpacking. Lena supervised the two third form dormitories of Noether house, keeping an eye out for any trouble, and so on. She was just helping with one of the slower girls when one of the Prefects approached her.

"Miss Maynard, Miss Ashley says she'd like to see you in her study," the Prefect said. "Shall I take over while you go over?" she added.

It took Lena a few short seconds to realise who 'Miss Maynard' was. "Thank you...?"

"Geraldine Foster," Geraldine said.

"Thank you, Geraldine," Lena said. "It would be very helpful of you,"

She smiled before starting a brisk walk to the Head's Office. She found herself with the same sense of anticipation and nervousness of going to said office as she did when she was a pupil. Reminding herself that she was a grown woman and teacher didn't really help, and it was a long time after she had left the dormitory that she found herself knocking on said door.

"Come in," Miss Ashley's clear voice called.

Lena entered the room to find Miss Ashley sitting on one side of the desk, and a schoolgirl on the other. "Ahh, Miss Maynard," Miss Ashley said. "April, this is Miss Maynard, who will be your form tutor for the year. Miss Maynard, this is April Bennett, who will be in you form. April, dear, would you mind stepping outside while Miss Maynard and I talk business? Miss Maynard will take you for unpacking once we're done,"

April left the room, and Lena moved closer to the desk.

"Helena, I would like you, please, to keep a good eye on April," Miss Ashley said. "I have a feeling she might be a troublesome pupil, although in which way she is troublesome, is yet to be seen. It might be nothing, but I'd prefer to take a precaution, nonetheless,"

"Very well, Miss Ashley, I shall keep an eye on April," Lena replied.

"Please, call me Sarah," Miss Ashley smiled.

"And I'm Lena," Lena responded automatically.

"Very well, Lena, now, don't you have a pupil waiting?"

Miss Ashley smiled as Lena left the room, before turning her mind to the masses of paperwork she had to deal with.

 

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