It was Rosie’s first day at big school. She was a little afraid and so she took Pawl in her school bag with her.
The school’s rules were clear, no toys ‘from home’ were allowed in the classroom, and so Rosie zipped Pawl up in her satchel, hiding him from the other children, and placed the satchel in her new locker at the side of the classroom, before sitting down at the school desk her teacher had designated for her.
Half way through the first lesson, a grinding sound could be heard from the side of the classroom. Rosie knew immediately Pawl was up to something.
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The other children, however, didn’t know Pawl was there. They heard just the dreadful grinding. ‘Mouse!’ one of them screamed out. It was a freckle-faced girl with long braids. ‘There’s a mouse hiding behind the bags!” ‘Get it!’ howled another.
“Uh… excuse me,” said Rosie, feeling a little ill. She stood up and taking her bag with her, disappeared into the bathroom down the passage from the classroom.
She unzipped the satchel to find a bewildered Pawl surrounded by pencil shavings. The grinding noise had been Pawl sharpening the pencils which had been in Rosie’s pencil case. “I was bored,” sighed the tiger, “Not much to do inside a satchel. All I could find was the sharpener and pencils… and your lunch…” he rubbed his tummy and grinned.
Just then, the bathroom door opened and in came Rosie’s teacher. “Is everything ok Rosie?” she asked.
Rosie hadn’t had time to hide Pawl from view and the teacher’s eyes rested on the stuffed toy tiger.
Rosie got such a fright, she pushed Pawl’s tummy by mistake and out came a ‘roar’. Now this was awkward.
She had expected the teacher to be cross but instead, she knelt beside Rosie and put an arm around her shoulders. “Do you take Pawl with you when you get afraid?” she asked.
The small girl nodded. “I also took a toy with me on my first day,” said the teacher. “Tell you what, you can keep him out but I expect him to sit at his own desk during the lessons – and to be quiet. Is that ok…” she turned to the tiger.
“His name is Pawl,” whispered Rosie, still with wide eyes.
“Is that ok Pawl? You can play with Rosie at break only.”
The tiger dared not say a word but as they were walking back to the classroom, he gave Rosie a wink.
That is how Pawl became an honorary member of Rosie’s class. It was also how Rosie learned that everyone gets afraid sometimes – even teachers – and that because we have all been afraid before, it’s ok to open up about your fears with someone you know you can trust.
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