New Teaching Task

Sophie’s new primary school teaching job was a dream come true. She loved everything about it. She adored her class, and she loved teaching every student. No matter their disposition or approach to learning, Sophie was confident she could find a way to help them. Every day held a new adventure. From school excursions to drawing animal pictures on the whiteboard, Sophie was never bored. 

But, after a visit from an optometrist clinic servicing Bayside, things began to change. The information that had been imparted by the expert, qualified optometrists was certainly top-notch. Sophie thought they would simply disseminate it to parents, but the principal wanted to take a more hands-on approach that Sophie thought must surely be illegal.

“I need you to check their eyes,” the principal said. 

Sophie laughed. Then, when the principal didn’t laugh with her, she realised it wasn’t a joke. “You want me to inspect their eyes?” She gaped. “I’m a teacher, not an optometrist. I wouldn’t know the first thing about that sort of test.”

The principal only pursed her lips, tapping out an ominous rhythm with her fountain pen. “If you want to keep your job, you’ll check their eyesight.”

And so it went. Sophie printed out one of those sheets with letters that descended in size, and stuck them on the wall for her class to read. She pored over page after page of peer-reviewed optometry journals. At night, she dreamt that she was no longer a teacher, but a children’s optometrist wearing a crisp white lab coat. The sterility and coldness of that dream shocked her out of her optometry stupor. She had to get this ridiculousness over with, so she could get back to doing what she was actually employed to do – teach. 

When school opened that week, she arrived early in the morning to construct a makeshift eye care office. She wanted it to be a pleasant experience for the children, and she wanted to make sure she got it right.