Reasons why you should do army training before teacher training

A tragic and moving poem in which a new teacher realises that her expectations may have been somewhat unrealistic ...

I’d read all the guide books on classroom control.
I’d got it all sussed; a quiet class was my goal.
I’d a will made of iron and peace in my soul.
I was calm.
I’d browsed on the Web for discipline tips.
I was fully prepared and completely equipped.
And I just would not tolerate anyone’s lip.
I’d no qualms.

These things I remember now, here in the gloom,
Locked by Tyler O’Neill in the stationery room
Hoping someone from Senior Staff will come soon
With a key.
These things I recall as I massage the bruise
Shazza Rogers inflicted with mile-high shoes
When I dared to mention her F—k me tattoos.
Silly me.

Those nostalgic days when the future seemed bright
Before Shannon and Julie used set squares to fight
And Ryan McPhee set the waste bin alight
With a fag.
I’ll be here all night long on this chewing-gummed floor
Reading John Barrett’s conquests he’s scratched on the door.
I’d be screaming and yelling for help now, but for
This damn gag.


  1. I think that this should definitely go in every teacher handbook. Harry Wong discipline? PSH.

  2. If it did go in every teacher handbook, Little Miss ET, I suspect we would have very few teachers left in the world!

  3. My daughter just went back to school this week for her Master's Degree so she could become a teacher. I don't think I'll forward this to her yet!

  4. Oh I can't wait for the day when I'm at the local bookshop and your book of poetry is displayed in the window...

    This book must include a few poems on public transportation though. You know they are my favorites.

  5. No, perhaps not, MissLynda. I think sending her a big box of chocolates and a crate of wine might be a better option.

  6. Me too, Amanda, me too. Although I find it hard to call this kind of thing 'poetry'. Comic verse? All I know is, I love performing them as well as writing them and I keep trying to pluck up courage to ask local venues to let me do a show. Too scared.

  7. Oh yes, you should try performing them! You could be the next star on Britain's Got Talent. Come to think of it, could you sing them?? That would be even better.

    Great job, seriously - I love your poems!

  8. Lesley - singing has been known, accompanied by the old gee-tar. At the school where I worked before, I used to perform at school events in front of parents! Scary! But a good laugh. As for Britain's Got Talent, my round frame, dark hair and slight air of craziness may bring unfortunate comparisons to Susan Boyle. That, I would not risk for a million pounds.

  9. I used to think I wanted to be a teacher. I don't think I would have survived. It takes nerves of steel and a lot of determination...two things I am lacking.

  10. Rae, I have to confess that the school I work in now knows nothing of this kind of scenario. Put it this way, I am sure that, many times, they wish they could lock me in a cupboard, but they're far too nice to actually do so. But there are schools like it and I wouldn't like to work in them either.

  11. You love it, really, don't you?
    Anyways, you gotta larf, aint'cha?

    I'd love to be your pupil, I bet the kids love you too.

  12. Friko - if I really did work in a school like this, I think I would lock MYSELF in the stationery cupboard and refuse to come out.

  13. Surely you're too young to have taught my class?

  14. Very young, Martin. Extremely, in fact. Don't let the wrinkles and saggy bits tell you anything different.

  15. Very good. If you want it to be part of school policy, you will need to come up with a decent acronym as a title!

  16. Wouldn't that mean, Urban School Teacher, that I'd also have to divide it into sections, sub-sections and sub-sub-sections, take out any references to humour and replace any words suggesting difficulty with the word 'challenge'?


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