The children were sheep.
Huddled together, heads together. All part of one, huge invisible team; an unknown bond holding them all together, keeping them in one piece.
The word was said tinged with pity. Warren turned his head ninety degrees to locate the source of the word. The woman looked nervous- her eyes told everything. Her arms were folded very tightly across her chest, and her eyebrows were pinched together in the middle as if she was concentrating very hard.
Concentrating on not being nervous, Warren said in his head. 'You're new,' he announced.
The woman's eyebrows pulled even closer together and her eyes screwed up.
Surley, Warren thought, her eyebrows can not possibly come any closer together. 'The new Year Seven teacher.' He continued his other sentence.
'Yes,' was the abrupt reply. 'I am.'
'What's your name?' Might as well try and be friendly.
The woman's eyebrows shot upwards. Warren was impressed by her eyebrow moving skill. 'Jane.'
Warren offered his hand. 'Nice to meet you, Jane.'
Before he could reach, "I'm Warren, the other Year Seven teacher," the bell rang, and the sheep began bleating desperatley like lost little lambs.
He considered remarking this outloud, but he did not think that his new colleage would appreciate such farm related metaphors so early in the school year.
'This way, Seven Double You,' he announced, opening his classroom door importantly.
One plucky sheep, as it reached the top of the stairs leading from the playground to the Year Seven Classrooms, stopped and frowned at him.
'You don't say it like that,' the sheep told him sternly, hands on hips. It reminded him of his mother. 'It's W, not Double You. Not two different words. You run them together like this- Dubbleuu.'
'I think you'll find I know the name of my own form, little sheep,' he said. The sheep stared at him, mystified, before filing into the room obidiently after the rest of the flock.
Jane was also standing at her classroom door, letting her new form enter. The nerves had now migrated from her eyes and eyebrows to her hands, and they twisted togeher ferverently as she welcomed the sheep.
'Hello there, in you come, welome to Seven P. Yes, thats right, hi.' It went on for the whole line of thirty children. When they were all in, she met Warrens eyes, and mouthed Children, shaking her head and wringing her hands.
Warren mouthed Sheep, back at her.