To the teacher who broke me

There are certain days,

like those mornings just after a heavy downpour

where the scent of pollen and damp soil

mix to form that sickly, sweet smell,

and the sun comes out to create mocking shadows –

yes, days like those –

when nostalgia kicks in and I’m thrown

back to primary school,

clutching my satchel and walking into the playground

where all the other kids play without care

or squabble about nothing.


I sit on my own and watch.


Then the whistle blows

and she comes out, asking

us to line up.

A severe face carved

with severe eyes

and an even severer mouth,

but only when her gaze is turned to me.

Everyone else sees the smiling, caring mask

that tricks them into false security.

She speaks to them with soothing words,

but for me?

For me she leans in so that her severe face

is barely an inch from my own terrified one,

releasing the full roar of her lungs

into my ears.


I’m frightened.


I know she’s watching me,

waiting for me to tell someone about her.

I try to hide it,

but soon the dread consumes me.

I am physically sick at the idea

of facing her again,

seeing the rage build up in her eyes

when I ask even a simple question.


My parents grow concerned.

They talk with her –

she gives them the smiling mask –

and when they leave,

she rounds on me,

raging on

until I am no smaller

than a pebble in her wake.


My face is wet.

I can’t see;

I don’t want to see.

A hand gently touches my shoulder:

it’s time to speak up.

Tell them

what’s really troubling you.

Tell them the truth

about her.


I do.


Three weeks later,

she is gone.

Never to return.


Her voice is still there

in my mind.

It’s always there,

and so is the fear.


But now I can choose to ignore it.

1 thought on “To the teacher who broke me”

  1. My first primary school teacher, Miss Kite, was like this. She terrified me. She was strict with everyone but, she seemed to dislike me. I don’t know why. I was a timid, tiny little thing. She hit me across my hands with a ruler, in front of the whole class for something she blamed me for, but hadn’t done and she made us line up and whisper the answer to a question to her. She told me I’d got it wrong but, after the whole class had their turn and some of us had tried 2 or 3 different answers, she gave us the answer. I was right with my 1st answer after all 😔
    A year or 2 after I’d moved up from her class, she fell on ice and broke her hip. She walked with a stick for the rest of her life. It didn’t make me feel good about myself, but I was glad. I make myself feel a little better by knowing I had nothing to do with it and putting it down to karma xx


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