August 12, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“I don’t see the problem.” Instructor Pelnyen was sulking. He certainly would have called it something else, but he was definitely sulking, slouched in Libkazaari’s chair looking for all the world like a first-year student who had been caught out doing something wrong.
In a sense, she supposed, he was. Not a student, no, but the Instructors — especially those teaching the first-year students — were supposed to be a good example, a parent-away-from-home, and a rock of solidity against the changing tides of youth. Pelnyen had been failing in all three.
And, as had been the case more than once before, he was refusing to admit any of it.
“Pelnyen, if you were aware of a problem and continued to promulgate that problem, then we would be having a much different conversation.” Libri smiled gently at Pelnyen. It had the apparent effect of enraging him.
“I’m not one of your little students, you know. You don’t need to talk to me like a child.”
“We are not here to discuss my tone of voice.” She leaned forward over her desk. “We are here to discuss the way you are handling your students — one, in particular.”
“She’s stupid. Sometimes we make a mistake and allow a stupid student in. It’s kinder to everyone if we weed them out first. And this one just happens to be stupid, recalcitrant, and ill-behaved.”
“Because of the goat?”
“Yes, because of the goat,” he sneered, “and everything else. Wandering into restricted areas, becoming involved with that criminal—”
“I hardly think that we can blame Tairiekie for being hit over the head.”
“That is because you refuse to see her for what she is! She’s a malcontent, a trouble-maker, and an idiot!”
“Are you seeing her, or are you seeing Dair?” Libri held him in her gaze, waiting for an answer. Waiting to see if he had an answer. “Pelnyen, the simple truth is that you are being ridiculous when it comes to Tairiekie. She’s a clever young girl—”
“And you think I’m being ridiculous!”
“She is a clever young girl,” Libri repeated firmly, “who happens to be rather bad at Philosophy. That does not make her an idiot, Pelnyen.”
“It makes her one of those people who must quantify everything!”
“I believe,” Libri smiled, “that is the same is saying ‘she is in Akaizen House’. Regardless, you will teach her, and you will not belittle, berate, or insult her or any other of your students. Do I make myself clear?”
In the end, Pelnyen was like any other bully. In the face of authority, he caved. “Yes, House Monitor.”
“Very good. You may go.”
The true test, of course, would come when he believed himself unobserved. Unluckily for him — and luckily for the student body as a whole — he was not the first recalcitrant Instructor Libri had dealt with. He would be handled, one way or another.
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