Professor Blair-West
Life Skills Training (Years 4-7)
Fri Aug 3, 2018 14:57

Estelle was in a Mood. This was not particularly unusual, but today her Mood was the result of the school administration, and despite their quirks she’d always been pleased to say she got along with them fine. Until this term.

RMI’s new Deputy Head, who as far as she could tell was just an accountant with no business working in a school (she was long past hiding her opinions of the man in the privacy of her own thoughts), had spent the odd day in September sitting in on her classes. That had been expected; it was pretty standard for new staff and administrators to lurk shadow the current team until they got a better sense of what was going on. The problem came when he started giving suggestions and Toby started listening.

In a nutshell, the result was that Estelle was no longer going to be responsible just for a single Sex Ed class series every few term as the student groups aged up. Nope, apparently that hadn’t been enough, as now the admin were conferring with partner schools in the IWCE and she’d been set the task of drawing from their resources to design a new mandatory curriculum to teach life skills with more variety than ‘how to not get STIs’, more than every three or four terms. Her student years were far (but not too far) behind her, but she remembered enough to know that she sure hadn’t been required to take any classes on budgeting or whatever. Luckily Fell had offered to teach that one, which saved her having to argue her way out, but unluckily he was set on doing it during tax season, so Toby had “suggested” she come up with something before Midterm to gently introduce the students to the idea of this new life skills blah bleh blah. Insert her Mood.

Estelle did not appreciate being told how to teach.

After she arrived to the lab, tracked down every last fidget spinner and Banished them to the theatre (fidgets had a place, she could acknowledge that, but not in her classroom, thanks very much), the brunette conjured up some temporary walls and built a series of small cubicles that ringed the room. “Cubicle” was an appropriate descriptor, because one of them contained a toilet. More on that later. For now, Estelle placed wards on the open entranceways, causing them to appear shadowed and hazy inside until one crossed the threshold, because it was no fun letting the students see what they were getting into until they were there, and then added extra wards to some of them, the most common one being a ward that would prevent entry while bearing a wand.

And then she conjured a table in the centre of the room, climbed on top, and waited. Students were beginning to trickle in, some of them looking more comfortable with the odd set-up and the short woman standing on a table, presumably because they had committed to taking her classes past third-year. The rest were wearing a variety of expressions that she decided to summarize as “confusion”, which was more appropriate given the fact they’d been ordered to this surprise mandatory class via notices tacked up on their House bulletin boards two days prior. The notices had been charmed to yell at every fourth-year-and-up that passed until they were paid attention to, so she figured no one should have an excuse to be a skipper today.

As per usual, the official start of class was announced by a bang as the door slammed shut on cue. “G’day, you lot, and welcome to the rest of your life,” Estelle announced, deadpan. “This is Life Skills - a new class series brought you to by our new Deputy Headmaster Fell. Make sure to tell him what you think of it afterwards, he’s keen for feedback.” Not true, or not that he’d said, but as far as getting the man to stop sticking his fingers in her work, it couldn’t hurt.

“Today, you’re going to be facing down several of the common minor catastrophes that you’re likely to encounter after your schooling. For some of you they may be more likely, and some of you may do better at overcoming them, and some of them even stump my own brother, who’s a grown adult, so all you can do is try your best.” To be fair, her brother Coop was an idiot in more ways than one, so maybe the students would surprise her. She had higher expectations of the more dedicated ones, at least. “We’re doing this relay-style. You’ll each start at a different cube. After ten minutes you’ll hear a lovely alarm go off--” it was actually her personal alarm clock, speakers amplified, and ‘lovely’ was the opposite; the sound-clip it played was enchanted to be the most annoying sound to the individual listener “--and move on to the next cube, and whatever progress you made is reversed behind you for the next group. Now, you half…” Estelle stuck out her arms, measuring approximately half of the students gathered, and numbered them off, assigning one student per cube. This was not at all because there were certain students she had a personal interest in making start at certain cubes, nope. She then turned to the remaining students. “Go pick a partner, and get started!”

The majority of cubicles had a little box sitting at the entrance with a sign noting that wands were to be left outside. Correspondingly, the majority of cubicles had minor catastrophes (to use her own phrasing) of the non-magical variety. This ranged from a burnt-out lamp that needed the correct replacement bulb from an assorted box; to a bicycle with a punctured tire that needed to be repaired and reinflated using the tools of the student’s choice (and yes, the provided materials included Scotch tape, which she expected someone would go for); to the aforementioned toilet, which was in need of de-clogging. Estelle was expecting that one to cause the most resistance, especially from some of the Pureblood students, but she had no sympathy. The Blairs were Pureblooded, she’d grown up in a magical home herself, but still she’d had to wield a plunger on multiple occasions as a young teen when her mum was away at work and someone had to look after the house over the summer months.

Some of the cubicles featured magical household items, too. One had a table of game cards whose enchantments had worn off, such as a weak deck of self-shuffling cards that needed to be kickstarted with a Sorting Charm before it would resume shuffling. (Would the students know to do that? Did kids these days even play with cards? Bugger if she knew. But their new Deputy Head had given feedback on how her class needed to be more inclusive to students from all backgrounds, as if she'd asked for his opinion. Hmph. Her classes were inclusive, and they challenged assumptions and prejudices too, which was arguably more important than inclusivity. But at least the students couldn't get into too much trouble with simple cards like these. Estelle had preemptively set a fireproofing ward around the cubicle, just in case something weird happened and someone tried to accuse her of being unprepared, but she wasn't actually worried.)

Standing in the centre of the room, where she could watch all the cubicle doors, Estelle suddenly remembered an important part and used a Sonorus to announce to the busily-working students, “Sorry but by the way, your homework is to write a paper on your experience. Five pages, due to my office next week. So take some notes or whatever. Get back to it.” She had no interest in marking said papers. Maybe she could just dump them on Fell’s desk, too. If he was going to cause a disruption, the least he could do was pick up his own slack on it.

| OOC: Pick a cube to start on or invent your own! Have fun; write lots; tag Estelle if you need her and she might even help. Although she’s not taking pity on any whiners. Finally, note you’ll get bonus House points if your posts make me laugh. (I laugh easily, so I promise that’s not even too hard.) Enjoy!

    • I'll just do my own thing - Remington Burnham, Sun Aug 19 20:01
      Usually, Remington didn’t mind the chance to take advantage of an additional educational opportunity. At a magical school, those were bound to be fascinating and challenging. There were so many... more
    • I've got this... - Leopold Harris, Sun Aug 19 16:02
      Leo rubbed his temples. His head was throbbing. He’d spent the morning holed up in the library and still hadn’t managed to fill one sheet of parchment for his Spellwork essay. Normally, he studied... more
      • Do you, though? - Kaye Packman, Sun Aug 19 17:39
        Around two that morning, Kaye had woken up with a low grade fever and swollen knees. This hadn’t come as a surprise, since she’d covered up her butterfly rash with foundation the day before, but it... more
        • I'm hurt by your lack of faith in me - Leo, Sun Aug 19 19:41
          Leo was disappointed. There were certain people he expected to take his side on things (especially when the ‘thing’ he was criticising was the establishment, and pointless lessons geared toward a... more
          • Does my lack of faith... disturb you? - Kaye, Sun Aug 19 20:56
            Leo grumpily explained that he knew what he was holding was a sheet, which meant that Kaye had completely misunderstood his statement when she entered the room. She was just too fatigued to pay that... more
    • There's no I in Teamwork - Myfanwy Owen, Sat Aug 18 15:40
      Myfanwy didn’t especially appreciate being summoned to a class by a screeching notice pinned up on the Lyra noticeboard, but she supposed the method had been effective. She didn’t think it was a... more
      • If you squint, it's hidden in the A - Brynjolf Nilssen, Tue Aug 21 21:10
        Bryn didn’t mind the mandatory classes that cropped up every now and then, but the last time there had been one for Cultural Studies it had involved a thing that behaved like a baby. That was not... more
        • It's an optical illusion - Myfanwy, Wed Aug 22 15:55
          Myfanwy wasn’t disappointed to find Brynjolf already in the cubicle she had selected. They shared a lot of classes together (one less since Myffi had dropped potions; she was really good at it but... more
          • Brynjolf quirked a grin at the girl as she discarded her robe and stepped further into the room. He was glad to see the normal bright colors that accompanied Myffi’s personality and it put him at... more
    • My life skill is having money - Connor Farnon, Mon Aug 6 15:02
      It wasn’t that Connor had been present for the last mandatory life skills class, where the upper years had to take care of a baby, but he’d seen the results of that class and it terrified him.... more
    • These are not My Life Skills - Claudia Dubois , Mon Aug 6 13:29
      Today’s schedule entailed yet another mandatory session to spend in the company of Professor Blair. Claudia had just about had her fill of those. She didn’t mind the Cultural Studies classes, because ... more
      • Surprisingly, this isn't mine, either - Marley Chapman, Mon Aug 6 15:24
        It was a whole month since she and Teal had broken up, and she still wasn’t over it. That was kind of weird, right? Like, sure they’d been dating for ages (and that wasn’t even an exaggeration, since ... more
        • Some of this is familiar - Claudia, Mon Aug 6 23:08
          “Um, hi.” Claudia paused as if frozen (she would not be surprised if Holland had taught Marley how to execute that spell, but on this occasion her motionless was a result of surprise, not literal... more
          • And some is unknown territory - Marley, Tue Aug 7 22:46
            As soon as the word ‘okay’ had finished, she exhaled in a short sigh, forgetting for a moment not to be too obvious about her relief. She couldn’t help it. Although logically it wouldn’t make sense... more
            • Ready to explore? - Claudia, Wed Aug 8 16:23
              Marley seemed relieved; Claudia wondered why. Did it have more to do with absence of rejection, and with it the need to find another partner, in addition to any negative emotions experienced, or to... more
              • Sure! I think. Maybe. Too late. - Marley, Thu Aug 16 15:31
                “I didn’t say that.” She had spotted the quirk of Claudia’s eyebrows, but her automatic assumption was that it was just a reaction to being called out. She definitely hadn’t expected the other girl... more
                • It started well - Claudia, Fri Aug 17 16:57
                  Marley was infuriating. Claudia hadn’t been expecting anything much when she acknowledged she could have set aside her own reservations to blindly rejoice in Marley’s happiness, so receiving an... more
                  • And keeps dragging on - Marley, Thu Aug 23 20:39
                    It’d probably be super presumptive to say that she had been expecting a “you’re welcome” or even a “thanks for noticing”, because Claudia had never been the type of person to acknowledge the more... more
                    • We could abandon it - Claudia, Fri Aug 24 09:28
                      It felt as though the two of them were incapable of speaking to each other without arguing. Even when they had been friends, they had argued substantially more often than Claudia would consider... more
                      • I'm not good at giving up - Marley, Mon Sep 3 22:53
                        Ears still ringing (or maybe scratching was a better way to describe it) from the sandpapery alarm, she accepted her robes back from Claudia, noticing as she did so that her hand was shaking a bit.... more
                        • Then I have a new challenge for you - Claudia, Thu Sep 6 15:49
                          Marley was measurably more enthusiastic about this next task than Claudia. The paler girl stood towards a back corner of the cubicle, out of the way of its practical assignment, and wordlessly... more
                          • If at first you don't succeed... - Marley, Tue Sep 11 21:54
                            Quickly recovering from the surprise of Claudia requesting to help with the tire repair, Marley bobbed her head, long-ish curls bouncing along with her. “Oh my gosh, yeah, of course.” Laying the... more
    • What if this isn't a skill I want? - Russell Drew, Mon Aug 6 12:19
      According to the flyer tacked up in Cetus, not only was Cultural Studies being held at a different time than their usual schedule and in the lab instead of its normal room, but it was also a... more
      • All skills are worth having - Nolan Ramsey, Mon Aug 6 14:27
        Apparently the other students who weren’t taking Cultural Studies—and some of the ones who were—didn’t like mandatory yes-you-have-to-go-even-though-you-dropped-it lessons. Nolan agreed he’d rather... more
        • Not this one - Russell, Tue Aug 7 23:31
          The person to finally approach him was Nolan, whom he knew casually - they shared a few classes and he was pretty sure they’d wound up partners for at least two impossibly vague History assignments... more
          • How can you tell? - Nolan, Tue Aug 14 22:02
            Russell’s response was to go stand in a corner, so Nolan might have chosen wrong in the partner department. Great. He should’ve just picked Buckley. The guy was always going on about how having a... more
            • He took vague stock of Nolan’s question - just enough to deduct that the only way they were going to make it through this was if either they waited for the timer to go off and moved to the next... more
              • You’re so evasive - Nolan, Mon Sep 3 09:25
                Russell said he couldn’t imagine why this was one of their tasks. Nolan agreed, but for different reasons. Why bother learning how to do things the Muggle way? Everyone at RMI had magic—hell, even... more
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