First Day of School
a Washington Ghost Story
retold by S.E. Schlosser
She was brand-new history teacher to the school and had been preparing her first lesson in her mind for weeks. This was her very first teaching job, and she wanted it to go well. The night before classes began, she couldn't eat and tossed and turned restlessly all night. Up early, she was in her new classroom, sweeping the floor, tidying the desks, and putting up welcome signs just after dawn.
Finally -- FINALLY -- the first bell rang and her very first class came rushing in through the door. They were eager and lively and full of high spirits. She felt her heart lift at the sight of their fresh faces, and soon a lively dialogue between teacher and new students was established. They liked her, she could tell. And they were smart too. She tossed review questions lightly at them to see how much information they'd retained from the previous grade, and they were prompt to answer. And most of the answers were correct.
One particular lad, sitting in one of the front desks, was particularly knowledgable about history. She was impressed by his answers, and more impressed by the fact that he did not push himself forward as the class "know it all". He answered quickly and quietly, and let others take their turns. He had bright blue eyes and curly dark hair, and his smile was impish. He smiled alot, soaking in information like a sponge. The teacher smiled at him and tossed out another history question, seemingly at random, which he answered promptly after a pause indicated no one else knew how to respond.
At that moment, the bell rang. The teacher smiled as she heard it. Her very first class of her very first day as a teacher had been a success. Then, to her surprise, the curly-haired boy in the front row got up promptly from his seat and hurried toward the door of the class room without waiting for her to dismiss the class. That seemed strange, after his polite behavior during the class. She opened her mouth to reprimand him and then gasped as he walked straight through the wall beside the door and vanished.
The teacher felt her eyes widen and her mouth go dry in shock. Around her, the living students exclaimed in shock and fear. "Did you see?" shrieked one of the girls. "Did you see? He went right through the wall!"
"A ghost! He was a ghost," the boy sitting next to the ghost shouted, banging the desk in his agitation.
There was pandamonium in the room for about five minutes while the students from the first class exclaimed in excitement and fear while the students filing in for the next class tried to figure out what was going on. The teacher sat on the edge of her desk feeling faint and dizzy. It wasn't until a student brought her a drink of water that she recovered herself enough to dismiss the first class and welcome in the second.
The new teacher found out over lunch with her colleagues that the school building had the reputation for being haunted by the ghosts of students who had died too young. Footsteps were heard after hours. Janitors reported the sounds of children talking and laughing inside darkened classrooms, and sometimes felt invisible presences rushing down the empty hallways. But she was the first teacher to see a ghost student in her classroom.
The new teacher exited the school after her first day in a thoughtful mood. So, this was teaching. Eager students, belligerant students, funny students, and one ghost. "I wonder what day two will bring?" she asked aloud, and then shrugged and went home to dinner.