It is only after you graduate from school that you realize that teachers have a profound impact on you.

Your parents leave you in their hands for the bulk of your childhood, and what you learn from them, education-wise and life-wise, will probably stay with you for the rest of your life.

Here are my experiences with 5 of my teachers.


Mrs. Small

I’ll never forget the day Mrs. Small gave me 3 blistering smacks on my bum in front of the whole class for forgetting my English reading book at home.

Mrs. Small was my first grade teacher, and she was quite strict. The day I got disciplined by her was the day of our English recitals as a class, and knowing that I was a forgetful child, she reminded me the day before to not forget my reading book at home.

So when she gave instruction to the class to get ready for recitals and I reached into my bag to get my book, only to realize that I forgot it at home, I panicked. The only thing I could do was tell her about my mistake, which I did while the other kids in my class were busy preparing for the recital session.

My honesty resulted in me getting 3 hard smacks on my bum, and these were so unexpected that I accidentally urinated in my pants. I didn’t even know that I needed the bathroom, but I think that I peed in my pants because I was shocked at her reaction.

So, with urine all over my legs, a burning bum and feelings of immense embarrassment because all eyes were on me, I went back to my desk and quietly sat through the recital session.

Mrs. Ashman

Mrs. Ashman was my 3rd grade maths teacher who was irritated by my struggle to grasp mathematical word sums.

Word sums were like novels that included complex mathematical equations that just messed with my brain.

I woke every morning with anxiety because I struggled to understand anything that Mrs. Ashman taught for first half of the year. I went completely blank as soon as I stepped in her classroom, and she would purposely pick on me in front of the whole class to answer what I thought were the toughest questions.

My anxiety resulted in me constantly losing my writing pencils, and that made her blood boil even more because I would end up asking her for pencils, which would end up lost. One day, she lost her shit when another of her pencils went missing and threw me out of her class. She then called my parents to lodge an official complaint, and suggested that perhaps I wasn’t ready for the 3rd grade because of my mathematical problems. My dad was extremely irritated with me for not raising this earlier, and even more so for losing thousands of pencils.

Mrs. Langley

Mrs. Langley a bullish teacher who reminded me of Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. She was a burly woman who had a husky yet deep voice, and she was super strict. Being in her classroom felt like being in the military. She was a brilliant track and field coach, and being trained by her turned me into a relay star by the 7th grade.

Once when I was late for practice (by 3 minutes) she made me run 12 laps on the track. Never mind the usual sweltering African summer heat, but I didn’t get a chance to eat my sandwich before practice because that day was a busy school day and I found myself being all over the place.

I barely made it to the 12th lap when Mrs. Langley kicked me off her field, saying that I should only return when I regain my commitment to the team. Like a drunkard walking home after a long drinking session at the pub, I walked off the field, dizzy and thirsty, ready to collapse and promising myself never to run on an empty stomach again.

Mrs. Hart

Mrs. Hart was my favourite teacher. She taught me English, and she was brilliant at teaching literature. To this day, I can still visualize the dramatic nature of Lady Macbeth, and I can remember her 3 most important rules for reading out loud; those being remembering to breathe, to enunciate every word and to read with emotion.

She was also one of the school’s counselors, and she was quite compassionate and understanding. Once, when I was experiencing friend dilemmas and bullying at school, I went into her office sobbing, and before she said anything, she gave me a box of tissues and told me to cry it all out as crying cleanses the soul.

God bless Mrs. Hart.

Mrs. Julian

Mrs. Julian will go down in history as the worst teacher I have ever met. The woman was always angry and depressed, and walking into her class was like walking into a warzone.

At times she would get emotional and start sobbing in class before locking herself up in the storeroom that was located in the back of the classroom. We would end up going through our textbooks to catch up on the lesson. If she wasn’t sobbing, she would throw fits of rage, occasionally thrashing her desk and screaming at a poor student who dared to ask a question while she was teaching or walked in half a second late to class.

I once experienced her wrath after failing to submit my homework. Once again, my forgetfulness got the better of me, and when she went around the class collecting the mini-assignments she ordered us to complete, mine was nowhere to be found. She leaned towards me, crushing my bubble space by coming right up to my face, and in an angry whisper, she told me to leave her classroom before she would do something that would land her in prison.

Not only was that freaky, but I struggled to breathe for those few seconds because her breath was so bad, that it could kill a fly on impact.

I say thank you to these 5 teachers because they have left me with unforgettable memories. Knowing them has enriched my experience of the human race.

*image from YouTube.



  1. As a teacher for over 41 years and now a substitute, I am saddened that you only remember 1 teacher in a positive manner. I am so sorry that you had so many bad experiences. I truly hope my students remember something good about me. It would be a shame to have wasted my whole life thinking students felt badly about me.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I guess my experience of teachers also ties in the view of children back then, which was that kids had to be seen and not heard. That is changing though here in South Africa, where teachers are more invested in kids as humans, which is good because kids nowadays seem to be dealing with a lot more problems. I think your students will have good things to say about you 🙂

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