Jacynta Fielding was nervous. In fact she was very nervous. She wasn’t sure she wanted to do this any more. Jack looked at herself in the mirror. She was pale and there were worry lines across her forehead. She looked at the clothes she had laid out the night before and then glanced at her bed. She thought about crawling back in and pulling the covers back over her head. But then with a small laugh, as she thought of spineless jellyfish, she unwrapped the towel from around her and proceeded to get dressed.
Half an hour later Jack shut the door behind her and made her way to her car. In one hand she held her coffee and in the other was her bag containing her laptop and a few papers. She had put everything else in the car the night before determined to be prepared and not forget anything. Almost on autopilot Jack drove the short distance and parked her car in the car park. She stepped out and gathered her belongings and trying to ignore the curious glances that came her way entered the building. As she went through the doors there was a blurring and she realised with a sudden thrill that it had happened again.
Jack looked around curiously not quite sure what to expect. She still had no real idea of how or why this happened to her but she wasn’t worried. She had never come to any real harm and while there had been times when she hadn’t liked what was happening, she now looked back on it all as a great adventure. On first glance she had no idea. She was standing in a corridor, just outside a door through which she could hear the hum of voices. Unsure of whether to enter the room or not Jack stood where she was and thought hard.
Jack had been an avid reader of the Chalet School stories and had been lucky enough to be awarded first of all a year’s exchange to a modern version of the school that an enthusiastic fan had set up and then a scholarship until the end of her school days. She had spent three years at the school in total. The time had been spent mainly at the branch in Switzerland but she had also visited the Austrian branch for a term.
Twice, however, she had been somehow transported to the fictional school, on which the modern Chalet School had been based. The first time had been extremely confusing and at times scary. It was here Joey Maynard had christened her “Jack” and while she had hated the name at the time it was what all her good friends now knew her by. Even her parents had now given in and called her Jack most of the time. On her second adventure she had been more relaxed and had enjoyed the experience more. She wasn’t quite sure what to expect this time. She had just graduated from university and had been about to start her first job. She wasn’t sure she could go back to being a high school student again.
Jack put her hand on the doorknob and was beginning to turn it when she heard the sound of hurried footsteps. An older woman with a plain but kind face came towards here with an apologetic look.
“I’m sorry I’m late. I’ll take you in and introduce you to your class now.”
Before she knew it Jack was standing in front of a group of girls all dressed in a brown uniform who had all stood up when the pair had entered the room.
“Good Morning girls” the woman said once the girls were all standing quietly.
“Good Morning Mademoiselle” the girls chanted back.
“This is Miss Fielding. She is going to be your form teacher.”
Jack smiled at the girls feeling this was the only this she could do in the circumstances but her mind was racing. She was pretty sure that she was in Austria and the other mistress was Mademoiselle Lepâttre but that didn’t help her greatly.
“I’ll leave you to it then,” said Mademoiselle handing her a slim book as she walked out of the room.
There was silence as Jack faced the class. She felt very self-conscious as she walked up to the desk at the front of the room and sat down. She looked curiously at the girls who were all staring back. It looked as though she had charge of a group of girls around about fourteen or fifteen. Jack opened the book that Mademoiselle had given her and found a list of students in the class. Her eyes opened wide as she very definitely knew most of these names.
Jack went down the list calling out each girl’s name and trying to put faces with the names. A few of them she was able to memorise instantly. Just as she finished a bell went. The girls all looked at her expectantly.
“Evadne, what do you have now,” she asked
“We have geography with Miss Wilson,” Evadne replied. “Then maths with you.”
Jack did her best to conceal the shock that Evadne had just given her and stood up to leave the room.
“Please sit quietly until Miss Wilson comes and I look forward to getting to know you more after that.”
Jack walked out and closed the door quietly and then lent against the wall unsure of what to do now. Did she have another class to go to? If she didn’t where was she to go? And what of what Evadne had just told her. How was she going to cope with that? She closed her eyes and tried to think.
“Did it go that badly? I know the fourth can be imps but surely they didn’t try to play up on your first day,’ said a new voice breaking into Jack’s thoughts.
Her eyes flew open and she found herself looking at a tall woman who had a twinkle in her eye.
“Umm... no they were good,” Jack managed to say.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you when you arrived last night. Look I’d better go or they will start to play up. I’ll introduce myself properly at break but I’m Helena Wilson or Nell as most people call me and I have these little darlings for geography now.”
Miss Wilson turned to go into the room but seeing that jack still look confused turned back. “Look you’ll be alright. You’re free now so why don’t you go along to the staffroom and get ready for the your class.”
As the door clicked behind her Jack headed off in the direction that the mistress had pointed. After opening a few doors and finding cupboards and an office that was quite clearly not the staff room she eventually found a pretty room with desks lined out and a few comfy chairs. She plonked herself down in one of the chairs and stared unseeingly out the window.
Her first day of teaching was definitely not going the way she planned. She had thought that she was going to be teaching French and German at a large school near where she had grown up. Instead it looked as though she was going to be teaching maths at the original Chalet School. As much as she looked forward to being here what did she know about maths. She had done all right in it at school but since leaving school and going to university she had promptly forgotten much of what she had learnt. And there were no computers or calculators here.
The panic started to subside. She thought carefully and decided that she thought she knew when she was. One name on the list she had read out had established that for her. It was someone for whom she had always felt sorry for and someone who she had thought had been treated rather badly. Jack knew from past experiences that what she did had little effect in the stories but felt she had to try and help Stacie. But before she could do that she had to try and help herself first. With a sigh Jack scanned the desks and finally finding one with her name on it, sat down and opened up the maths textbook to try and work out what the hell she was going to do next lesson.
This is the third and final Jacynta story