The fan was spitting hot air at me as I marked my students' script. My eyes darted from the marking guide on my laptop to the script before me.
My face frowned in concentration as I focused on the words. My motto on script marking days is simple - nothing is given, none taken.
My red pen weaved across the script as I forgot to dab my sweating face. I looked at the name and smiled.
I moved over to the next script and by the time I was half way down, I dabbed my face, looked at the name on the front page to make sure I wasn't seeing double.
I felt a tiny rivulet of sweat dribble down my face and landed on the script. I wasn't smiling anymore. It was as if the writer had never been in my class.
I dropped my red bic even as my eyes refused detach itself from it.
I marked the rest of the papers in automation mode disappointed, sad.
Days later I stood before them my face inscrutable handing them back their scripts. And when I called her name and gave her hers, I closely watched her face.
On seeing her score, her eye brow deepened, pulling together as if they wanted to touch each other and she let out a sigh that tore at the very foundation of my heart. It was a combination of shock and disappointment.
At that moment, I connected with her - felt her pain. She was disappointed as if someone let her down. She didn't look at me. She would have caught me observing her. Because I was busy reading her face too.
I never uttered a word after the incident, continued with my teaching and at the end, left the class her sigh reverberating in my heart like an echo... I will never forget that sound...