First Job, First Day

The week prior to school's re-opening,

I had the first day of my first job!

Right out of Teachers' College,

Hired to teach a Grade Six class

In our Canadian capital, Ottawa.

My dream scenario.


It was an orientation day,

To meet the principal for the first time,

And my fellow teachers;

To familiarise myself with the school,

My own classroom,

And to secure the year's curriculum.


I had located the school already,

And scoped the diverse routes

For convenience and best timing.

I had a shared apartment

And a suitable wardrobe in my closet.

I was ready for action.


I dressed carefully.

First impressions count a lot.

The principal was a woman,

Someone I had never met.

She would know all about me, statistically,

But not ME, yet.


I was thrilled to be assigned a Grade Six class,

Children eleven and twelve years old,

A wonderful age,

Boys and girls with enough experience to 'know'

Whether a teacher was good or not.

Kids a little awed of Big School.


I did not want to be a surrogate 'mummy'.

I wanted to 'teach'!

To make young people aware, and strong;

Self-reliant, and proud of themselves,

Whatever their backgrounds might be.

Sort of: EAT MY DUST!


There were seven teachers in the reception room.

I was the only new staff member, and a first year.

They were gracious,

Seeming a bit puzzled, but very welcoming.

The principal clipped in, and scanned us all.

'C. Buell is not here yet?'

I stepped forward, 'I am C. Buell.'

Her eyebrows nearly flew off her head.

'OH! MY GOD! I thought you were a MAN!'



Long story short - I obviously wasn't.

Five-foot-two with chestnut hair and green eyes

Must have been a terrible shock.

So - I got my Grade Six in a cock-up.

Best mistake ever!

I was off and running, and I never stopped.


Three years later I was transferred

To a middle school in the city centre,

And grew to respect and value 'teenagers',

Most of them twice my size.

But how 'big' in body you are is nothing.

It's the mind, imagination, sincerity,

Even LOVE,

Where 'bigness' really counts,

And security in your own self.

Kids recognize that and respond accordingly.


Mind you, as a TEACHER,

You have to KNOW YOUR STUFF.

Make no mistake about that.

They'll KNOW!








◄ Associative Thinking

First Date ►


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Nigel Astell

Fri 12th Jun 2020 01:19

I like your poems when you look back at these special times

For getting it wrong
please write a hundred lines
Five foot two and I use the Ladies Loo!

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Thu 11th Jun 2020 17:10

Remembering this made ME smile. So,I thought somebody else might get a chuckle too. I enjoyed bringing it into 'being', as 'narrative poetry', quite blithely following no particular rules of construction, just fun with words. Yes, I KNOW, it's long!

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