Wednesday, 5 October 2016

School in the '40's

In days long gone
Treatment was harsh
Cane was handy
Teachers threw chalk at us

Keep you voice down!
Pay attention!
Speak up will you!
Come out here for the cane

"Don't" was the rule
Don't talk in class
Don't run inside
Don't start whining now

There were good bits
When the bell rang
Playing football
Walking home with friends

Our Art mistress
Sat at her desk
Sucking cough sweets
And didn't move her butt

Except to search
For her purse or 
her handkerchief
In her undergarments

Taught us nothing
Draw that vase here
Now sketch some trees 
She finally retired

Young temp came in
Smile on her face
Gathered us round
And talked to each of us

Gave us a task
Then as we worked
Walked round and spoke
To encourage us all

We all liked her
I felt special
Might even be
An artist just like her

...and I was

Image found at


  1. A good teacher makes all the difference.. so true.

  2. The best teachers are the ones who can see us as people - and did!

  3. WOW! I read this to my 92 year old artist mother, who agreed, agreed. Very Good!

  4. Artists encourage and recognize artists :)
    Reminded me of school.

  5. Ha ...I like the art teacher tucking her hanky in her bloomers:) You captured the period setting. Reminds me of the school scene in ' Les Quatre Cents Coups' If you have not seen this French classic ( well you must have )check it out.

  6. Oh I remember. It was the same in the 50's and 60's....sitting with hands behind our backs, shame, fear....the gamut.......I love the young art teacher! For me, it was an English teacher who encouraged my writing and told the class "One day you'll say 'I went to school with this author'." Those teachers are the ones who make a difference.

  7. How neat that you thought you might even be an artist like her....and you were. I am sure she would have been proud if she knew. I think teachers do like to know they made a difference. I wrote a letter to a high school English teacher many many years later for that reason. I loved the photo & your 1940's story. I hope you will write a lot more nostalgic poems. They really give a glimpse...

  8. This was great. My daughter has always found respite in art class until this year when a new art teacher came in and established many "don't" rules in their class. I hope for someone to come in to breathe life once again. Lovely writing

  9. love your young art teacher...but these days seeing such unruly little vandals stomping about and sometimes with guns i think those cane days were not very bad and also sometimes needed...spare the rod etc. :)

  10. The best bit was when the art teacher took me with him into the Grampians and taught me painting. Couldn't do that now.

  11. I've had teachers of both stripes. Both are unforgettable.

  12. Even a temp can make an impact. Teachers who take the trouble to care and be with them will always be remembered. And not many of them these days!


  13. Different times, different methods, and yet kids learnt (even if it was the hard way), Robin. I liked the twist at the end.