The first time I heard about Pioneer Conversation Club was from Hida’s babble. To be honest, I did not care much about it until Hida’s fast-paced babble became more and more annoying. I could not help but notice that her annoying mumble would not stop unless I asked her what Pioneer Conversation Club was all about.
“Okay, what is this PCC? You are hurting my ears with your rapid mumbling.” I asked her straightforwardly.
Having successfully stolen my attention, she smiled, “PCC is the abbreviation for Pioneer Conversation Club, an English extracurricular activity at SMAN 1 Malang. I got this offer to replace their recently-retired teacher which, of course, I accepted. Who would turn down a job offer at such prestigious school?”
“O-kay, so what seems to be the problem?” I replied as I took another sip of my not-so-warm-anymore coffee.
“I have no confidence in teaching them.” She answered with a rather low tone.
The second I heard that, I realized she was just not trying to find a subtle excuse to show off her new, shiny job. I knew Hida like the back of my hand. She had this inferiority complex that made her so easily intimidated whether by internal or external factors.
“Come on, hon. We talked about this a million times. Do not ever underestimate yourself. You and I know the force is strong in you.” I tried my hand at some old Star Wars joke.
“Ha, yeah right.” She chuckled.
“It’s just their previous teacher was so good and seasoned while I am just a fresh graduate who barely has any teaching experience at all.” She said with a lot lower tone than the last time.
“Being a fresh graduate is not exactly a disadvantage, you know? The last teacher may be seasoned and all, but you can bring a new breeze to the class with your youth and freshness. Besides, how good their old teacher could be?” I made a try to cheer her up. She tended to turn monstrous when her bad mood left untreated.
“The last teacher basically founded the club 40 years ago. He was that good.” She turned her face left. “How do you expect me to succeed someone as influential as the founding father? The passed baton is just too heavy for me to carry.”
I could see her point. It was a big responsibility indeed. It was not an easy feat to take the place of a major figure. However, I believed that the word “impossible” was the short for “I am possible“. Nothing in this world that could not be accomplished as long as you had the will. Nonetheless, Hida’s tendency of feeling low self esteem worried me. I knew she was capable of achieving many great feats, but sometimes, she needed somebody to push her fragile back.
“I don’t have anything important to do this week. I may be able to assist you with whatever you need an assistant for.” I offered my help as I took the last sip of my cold coffee.
“That is exactly what I need! An assistant! So I could share the burden. But, are you sure? Can I have your word on this?” She suddenly cheered up, but was skeptical. I could not blame her, though. I did break some promises.
“You have my word.”
“Repeat it three more times.”
“You have my word, you have my word, you have my word.”
“Repeat it another three times.”
“Bill please!” I called the waiter.
We left the coffee shop with Hida laughing at my annoyed face.
The days passed by like a dread leave flown by the autumn breeze. Without me noticing, it was already Saturday. I was about to play Final Fantasy Type-0 when my phone vibrated. A text from Hida.
“I’m coming to pick you up in 10 minutes. Get ready, we have a class to teach.”
Motherhugger! I forgot the promise I made her a few days back. I rushed my way to the bathroom, hastily brushed my teeth, took a lightning-fast bath, changed into the cleanest collar shirt I got, and combed my hair like there was no tomorrow. By the time she arrived I was groomed from head to toe. I did not let even a single strand of hair ruin my most presentable appearance yet. Yeah, baby, yeah. Behold the dandy version of Bayu.
“You smell funny.” Hida’s criticism at my body odor blew my confidence to smithereens. Stupid me! How in the world did I forget to use my stick deodorant?
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. It’s almost 2. Come on, we don’t have much time to waste. I don’t want to be late on my first day as a teacher assistant.” I put on my helmet as my face turned bright red from embarrassment.
Fortunately, the traffic was smooth. We arrived at SMAN 1 Malang earlier than we anticipated. Shortly after we walked into the teacher office, a school staff whose name I did not know told us that a foreigner guest should be joining PCC season that afternoon.
“You have a foreigner assistant today? What use do I have now?” I protested.
“How else am I gonna get you out of your room? You would’ve been spending all day playing video games if I told you about this.” She retaliated.
“You knew about this?”
“Come on! it won’t hurt to spend an afternoon outside. Besides, the foreigner is a stunningly gorgeous girl. You will be grateful I introduce you to her.”
Meh! It was not in my concern how pretty the foreigner was. I was more worried about my hierarchy standing in the soon-to-be-held class. Would I get a chance to introduce myself at all?
“Good afternoon, Ms. Hida. I am sorry I am late.” A mild yet strong voice brought me back from my reverie. It was the foreigner’s.
“Mamma mia.” I mumbled Italian as I shook her hand in the most awkward way possible.
To be continued. Lidy and What We Think A Lesson Plan is All About.