The end of my first term of teaching in Zimbabwe was approaching and the sun was shining brightly. As I ushered the class inside, I felt incredibly smug. Despite their reputation for being loud and rude, they were always silent when sitting a test.
I handed out the test papers and sat down, breathing a sigh of relief. The class of terrors sat silently, scribbling away. I lent back on my chair, easing into the sunlight streaming through the window.
Then I spotted a large bee fly in through the window. A girl spotted it and screamed. This was followed by more shrieking, as a desk went flying and two pupils pressed themselves against the wall.
"It's only a bee, for goodness sake," I said, but the pupils didn't seem convinced. I knew there was going to be no test until either the creature or the entire class had left the room.
"Right," I said, emptying the chalk from a nearby plastic tub. Armed with the container, I headed towards the bee, which I soon realised was considerably bigger than I'd thought. Not wanting to lose face, and with minimum fuss, I managed to hop over a pupil's bag and trap the bee between the tub and wall. With a test paper provided by a braver student, I covered the end of the container and walked out of the room.
The class fell silent, clearly impressed by my rescue attempt, and resumed their work. I went outside, nonchalantly shaking out the tub, only for the creature to become tangled in my hair and sting me on the top of my head. I returned to my desk feeling less smug.
Masking my considerable pain, I had not only learnt that anything can happen in the classroom and smugness does not pay, but also that African bee stings are much more painful than those of their British relatives
Mike Lamb teaches psychology and biology at Hurstpierpoint College in Sussex. Send your NQT stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could earn Pounds 50 in MS vouchers.