the Jinan we came home to was vastly different then the one we’d left. The trees and branches had come to life while were were gone, exploding with colour as flowers bloomed in light pinks, bright purples, and deep yellow. The air was fragrant with flowery perfume and the leaves unfurled green and fresh. Spring was here and as one tree’s petals fell to the ground another’s bloomed to take their place. The air was thick with white fluff that swirled through the currents lifting and tumbling and tangling in clothes and lungs. With the lightened sprits that the flowers brought came a strangling choke of thick pollens.
Harry Potter class started out as usual that evening: Amy was grumpy because I wouldn’t let her eat Alan’s candy, Tyler was spacing out, and Steven had a big grumpy frown on his face. I forced the “side sitters” who always clung to the edges of the rows of chairs to move front and centre and placed my kids that were outgoing enough to not get forgotten to the edges.
The new seating arrangement was working pretty well, and I was feeling happy with my class by the time we hit the halfway mark and marched the children out for a bathroom break. Then Shirley brought out the prizes. They were supposed to be a reward for doing well on the test, and Shirley had the children choose in order of grade. Alan, for all of his disruptive behaviours, is one of the top scorers in our class, so he was one of the first to choose. He picked the markers. Amy wanted those markers. Amy started crying, and then Amy started screaming, and Shirley rushed to Amy’s side, but Amy just yelled and screamed louder. Shirley and Amy disappeared from the classroom, and didn’t show back up until the last 10 minutes of class. What had started out as a promising two hours quickly devolved into chaos. From now on prizes will NEVER be given out until the very end of class.