"I don't see how this will help." Kevin, the Science Department Head, paced behind his desk. "You propose Marcus should aid you in teaching the science class by having the students examine his claws under a microscope? How will that advance the knowledge of the students learning Pokemon biology?"
"Yes, sir, that's *exactly* what I'm proposing." Erwine replied. "As long as Marcus gives definite consent to participate, I will accommodate him. Besides, we have little to go off of for practical lessons for Pokemon biology. I believe it doesn't even have a practical component yet."
"Right, but will it not be easier to obtain samples of his… claws from him directly?" Kevin pulled a large pair of heavy-duty scissors from his drawer. "Marcus, give me your arm."
"No!" Marcus hid his arm behind his back and backed away. "Please! You have no idea what you are doing!"
"Why?" Kevin replied. 'Come on. Don't these things grow back?"
Marcus shook his head, antennae curled in agitation and horror. "If you will not allow the students to examine me without cutting my body up, at least let me demonstrate."
Kevin frowned. "Demonstrate? Using attacking moves is not permitted inside the school."
"No. Give me a microscope. I will show them what my claws look like personally."
"I would like to ask: what is the limit for a demonstration? The chemistry teachers are allowed access to chemicals for the purpose of explanation."
"Yes, but… well, this is uncharted territory. I'm sure you know why Marcus is required to wear his arm guards."
"Listen. Do we have a projector in the science wing classrooms? We can use that for this lesson, take samples from Marcus with his consent and in a way that will not harm him."
"I want an exact description of what you plan to do in this lesson, Ms. Erwine."
"So, first things first: I want to have Marcus up front for the first 10 to 20 minutes of the lesson. I'd also have some microscope slides prepared for this."
"How do you intend to prepare the microscope slides?" Kevin asked.
"I looked up some info on the Leavanny line, and asked Marcus how he sharpens his claws. My idea is to collect whatever shavings he leaves behind and prepare them with some help from another biology teacher."
"Will you consider the students who might not be able to attend?"
"I doubt Marcus will be available tomorrow – and I believe all labs are meant to be done in class." She tucked a strand of brown hair behind her ear. "Besides, the biology class concerning Pokemon is the same as the other science classes – they require a practical component!" She paused, "I also need to tell you something else."
Kevin sighed. "Fine. I'll allow it. What else do you want to tell me?"
Erwine flipped open her lesson plans and laid the textbook open on Kevin's desk. "I've been lacking material for the units I'm teaching. Look, the textbook doesn't have much comprehensive information about Pokemon. When was this book written?"
Kevin frowned. "This one was written two years after the shift event. You want the school to order newer editions?"
"Yes. It would aid us greatly in planning and teaching lessons if all the students got up-to-date information."
"I'll consider it," Kevin replied. "The sixth edition of the textbook will be available in a few weeks. We'll put down an order for it."
"Thank you," Erwine said.
Marcus tapped his scythes on the teacher's desk. "Class, settle down."
Besides him, Erwine frowned and glanced around nervously. She much preferred working alone without another colleague watching her and judging her performance.
"We're doing a combined class today," Erwine replied. She stood as straight as possible, not wanting to let her lack of confidence rub off on her students. "This period will be the first ever lab session of this class overseen by a Pokemon member of the teaching staff. I'll bring around the equipment now." She dragged a wheeled trolley loaded with microscopes and prepared microscope slides to the front, before helping Marcus get his laptop up and running. It was made of hardened, scratch-resistant plastic to mitigate the damage his scythes would do to the casing.
"Form into groups of three to four based on the students next to you. I want one to two microscopes per group only," Marcus said. "Take two of the prepared microscope slides per group. Go."
As the students grabbed the equipment, Erwine sighed. She'd only done substitute teacher work before when starting out. This was her first real term, and the thought of her progress reports.
The thought of not being able to meet the standards made her sick, though she forced herself to smile and help the students. Adjusting microscopes was something she could easily do - and it helped she was much more approachable.
Sure, Marcus' students were used to him by now, but hers... their reaction to seeing a 4-feet tall, talking bug enter the classroom resulted in screaming.
"I see you're all done screaming," Marcus had said. "For those of you who are not aware, yes, I do teach biology with Ms. Erwine here."
Erwine heard a student mutter, "Why do we have a four-feet tall talking bug teaching us?"
"We're trialing hiring Pokemon. I'll have you know Marcus is the first Pokemon teacher this school has hired. Now, please focus on your work," she replied.
"I'm waiting for this to become a normal Tuesday for me," another student replied.
"That's enough, both of you," Marcus replied.
"Really? What would you do? Eat us?"
"You there!" Erwine shouted. "I'm giving both of you detention for harassing a member of the staff."
The class was very quiet after that.
"I'm not looking forward to Kevin's lecture after this," Erwine said.
"Don't get too worked up about it. You did stop the comments," Marcus replied. "I'll pitch the idea to him, see if it's OK if we help each other organize lessons."
"What made you want to become a teacher?"
"We still have half an hour before we meet with him. I'll tell you."
This chapter was difficult to write - but I think I've finally got it out! Next: Marcus' desire to become a teacher is revealed.