06 October 2015

Miss Brown

To teach she sat behind her desk
something I wonder about now
I couldn’t do it—sit, I mean.
I bounced around my rooms to teach, engaged, 
but that’s something I wonder 
about now for she made me bounce.  
That’s where it began, for sure,
with pretty willowy Miss Brown.

The way she cupped the flip in her
shoulder-length hair, leaning forward
so soft and orderly—the way
each day her red cursive “Good Work”
graced book reports, essays and tests—
Remember?  Spelling eighth-grade words
was fun, such fun to please her red
ink slant atop pages I wrote.

For her, I risked being better,
focused my normal Look-At-Me
on perfection, neatness, power
in what I read and wrote  and Oh!
She published the literary
magazine and my first story!
Certainly that’s where it began
this eagerness to be best, this
belief I could do anything.

To teach she sat behind her desk
and quietly noticed us all
and we saw her hand writing on
our inner walls saying “Good Work”
and her hand cupping shoulder curls.
We saw her seeing us each day
and sat up straighter than before
behind our desks for dear Miss Brown.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast


Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love it! I can see her, cupping her hair. Hmmmm....I just posted a poem that might possibly work for this prompt.....will reconsider in the morning - if I ever get to sleep!

X said...

I like how a big part of her teaching was in noticing. I wish that education was more individual focused for the student. We are getting there - though -

Yeah, I could not teach from behind the desk.

Gail said...

I can see her.

I had a few teachers that brought out the best in all of us.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

This is absolutely lovely..!! I can almost picture her :D
Beautifully penned!

Lots of love,

Old Egg said...

Curiously I too had a English teacher Miss Brown! How much of each of us is fashioned by teachers, not all of course but some certainly leave life long impressions on us.

Sumana Roy said...

"Certainly that’s where it began"...that's the best gift of a teacher to us isn't it?...i can see her....

Jae Rose said...

We all need someone who makes us feel worth the risk of being better (so very perceptive) - no matter our age and the lessons we still have to learn...but thank heavens for Miss Brown

Grace said...

You are blessed to have found a teacher who inspired you to write and encouraged you to do your best Susan ~ I can see her now, sitting and smiling behind her desk ~ Like you, I can't sit still behind the desk too ~

totomai said...

She must have been your inspiration, Susan.
And Ms Brown must be very proud of you. I felt like I am one the student of hers

Anonymous said...

Honestly, being attractive is a huge bonus for a teacher. My kids have always responded well to pretty teachers/physicians. I guess that's just human nature though ... like we're drawn to anything that's fresh and vibrant, you know, like in nature. But at the same time, some of us are very drawn to studying organisms in all stages of life.

This says so much: "For her, I risked being better" ... It IS a risk to become something better; it makes us have to work harder for the rest of our lives.

Bodhirose said...

Oh, I remember those comments made on papers with that red ink pen...so much power in those comments. Teachers do wield a lot of power to bring out the best or shatter our confidence. How fortunate you had Miss Brown to urge you on to do your best. Lovely.

Mary said...

She reminds me of three teachers I had as well too, Susan. It is so wonderful to feel that one has really been SEEN by the teacher. And yes, one wants to do better after having really been seen. And the love of whatever subject lives on! Two of my teachers of this kind were English teachers, one a typing-shorthand teacher. Smiles.

annell4 said...

Bless the teachers!

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I loved this! I I think we all have had one or more of this kind of experience with teachers--if we are lucky--

Myrna R. said...

Nope, couldn't teach from behind a desk. But Ms. Brown seems to have done it well. I like how you describe her and how much she motivated you.

kaykuala said...

Miss Brown seems a dedicated teacher. During our time there were a few who stood out. It could be good teaching methods, good response to questions or just good looks.These were the ones who molded our raw self into somebody perhaps. Thoughtful write Susan!


rallentanda said...

Lucky to have Miss Brown as your teacher even if she did deliver her pearls from behind a desk.Frankly I am pleased we did not have any teachers who bounced around the room...I would have found that very unnerving..They sat at the desk or stood at the front of the room.

Susan said...

You are new to me Hedera! Thank you for visiting!

Hannah said...

This poem has me teary - there's such a beauty and power in the teacher that inspires children to be their best...

I love this part:

"we saw her hand writing on
our inner walls saying “Good Work”
and her hand cupping shoulder curls.
We saw her seeing us each day
and sat up straighter than before"

So moving, Susan.

Thank you, for hosting this meaningful challenge. :)

Anonymous said...

Each teacher has his/her own way. A teacher who creates a desire to excel is a treasure.


Gen Giggles said...

That one great teacher is all it takes.

Panchali said...

" The way she cupped the flip in her
shoulder-length hair, leaning forward
so soft and orderly—the way
each day her red cursive “Good Work”--- Oh, I could almost visualize my teacher in that position. You made me nostalgic, Susan. Lovely...

Anjum Wasim Dar said...

'to teach she sat behind her desk' a true reflection of the teaching style ...lovely teachers poem..one has so many memories to share ,it is difficult to select..whatever we are today we owe it all to our gracious teachers...For me one the best in school was Sister Francis an Irish Teacher at the St Anne's Presentation Convent Rawalpindi Pakistan.

Sara McNulty said...

I like the details in this. Lovely poem!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

There's nothing better than an inspiring English teacher!

Aditi said...

How we loved our 'Good work' and 'stars' :) This reminded me of my many wonderful teachers!

Unknown said...

It is so interesting when you look at the elements in our younger years that molded us. I am glad for this teacher that inspired you.

humbird said...

O. wow! This is a strong teacher with charizma....she noticed, observed and have learned all her students. I see, how motivated can be students in her class....powerful teacher!

brudberg said...

I think that only a few of us have been blessed with the teacher that make us want to be our best.. a wonderful tribute... I wonder what it could have been.. I guess it molds us into human shape.

Intelliblog said...

We all had a teacher like that, I think, and each in his/her own quiet,neat and ordered way managed to inspire us. Lovely poem, Susan.