Alistair stared out of the window. He was in detention again and was wasting his lunch break writing the essay ‘Why I should do my French homework on time’. His mates were out playing football. He really disliked French, and most of all, he really loathed his French teacher, Madam Lasalle.
If ever there was a teacher who loved using Blue Footprints it was her!
She just seemed to get a kick out of standing in your way and tripping you up. Last week Sachin had got a detention simply for coming into class and speaking in English rather than French. This week, Freddy got one just for shading in the Tricolour in the wrong order. Now he’d got one for being an hour late with his homework! When he tried to explain why he was late, she simply pointed to the display on the wall which clearly said ‘ ALL HOMEWORK SHOULD BE GIVEN IN ON TIME... NO EXCUSES’. Alistair knew Madame Lasalle was a stickler for the rules, and there was no point arguing. Blue Footprints, Blue Footprints, Blue Footprints were all she ever used, with her sharp beady eyes, and her grim stare which fixed you like a bayonet.
As he daydreamed in a state of boredom, his mind wandered back to Mrs Cooper, his year six teacher at his last school. Now, there was a teacher who used Blue Footprints well. He remembered how she sorted out the bullying that had gone on; how you always knew where you stood with her. She didn’t shout, but you just respected her because, well, because you knew she cared. She was consistent, clear, firm but warm. He’d learned a lot about Blue Footprints, when and how to use them, from Mrs Cooper.
It was three- two in the Football game and getting interesting when Alistair saw a bunch of Year Elevens pushed their way onto the pitch. One of the grabbed the ball and hoofed it miles away across the field. Then they got out their own ball and started passing it around. Alistair could see the year nine’s- his mates- remonstrating with them. Obviously they were there first, it was still their allocated slot on the pitch. Obviously it was just the year elevens throwing their weight around.
He watched as his best mate Freddy began to front up to the biggest of the Year Elevens now. Freddy was always the fiery one... never back down, especially when there was injustice around. Maybe it was something to do with his red hair. Uh oh, thought Alistair, this isn’t going to end well. Both the boys were toe to toe.... both using Blue Footprints, standing square on, eyes fixed, staring the other down.... The others had gathered round now, in a circle. Some of the older boys were starting to chant ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ They sensed blood. Freddy was going to get a pasting.
Just then he saw Madam Lasalle striding across the grass towards the crowd. She looked tiny compared some of the hulking Year Elevens. Not daunted for a moment, she just strode right between the two boys. Alistair thought she was going to get clocked herself, but she seemed to just fix the year Eleven with her ‘look’ and she said something that made him wilt. Crestfallen, he backed off, shoulders slumped. It was amazing, without touching the boy she ‘marched’ him off the pitch. He followed behind her as if on a leash. Their leader defeated, the other Year Elevens merged back into the crowd, hoping not to be noticed. Boy, that woman had some power!
Later that day, Alistair was hanging out with his friends in the Hall.
“Did you see how Mme Lasalle handled that? I thought you were for it Freddy!” laughed Alistair.
“Well, physical power isn’t everything is it?” replied Freddy. “You can use Blue Footprints to be strong and firm for good and bad I guess. Today, I’m just glad Mme Lasalle used them in our favour for once.”