Posted by: Casey Lybrand | June 19, 2010

Ode to a Middle School English Teacher

This poem is inspired by the recent Punctuation Merit Badge at the Merit Badger blog, and stands in explanation of why I will never claim a badge for which paying attention in English class is a prerequisite.

Ode to a Middle School English Teacher

You did not seem to mind that I was not listening when you
expounded upon sentence structure
explained punctuation or
expunged imprecise grammatical constructs.

I was too busy scribbling stories in my notebook,
or reading novels you warned us against (don’t read that, you aren’t ready, you said to the class,
and I wrote down every title you disclaimed in precisely enunciated syllables),
or writing essays that vastly exceeded the two page assignment you set every week.

And though I did perk up for your lecture on
explicating the symbolism of surrealism,

I do not remember how to diagram a sentence,
I do not remember what the terms pluperfect progressive or future subjunctive
are used to describe.
I do not remember what grade I received in your class, though I suspect
it was more generous than the grade I earned.

I do remember the writing.
I am still writing, Miss B.


  1. Hi! I’m sure Miss B. would feel as if she’d accomplished her mission with you. Nice job.

  2. A sweet poem of rememberances…well said.

  3. Thank you cherilaser and slpmartin.

    I think Miss B. would be happy that I’m writing.

  4. You remember the part that counts…
    Great poem, it reminded me the time I was in law school and wrote stories in my notebook instead of notes from the lectures :)
    Keep writing my friend…

  5. Thank you, Lua.

    She was a really good teacher. (And she knew her way around reverse psychology.)

    Stories instead of law school lecture notes? That’s one of those “you know your you’re a writer when” things … too cool!

    ETA August 7, 2010: Wow! I just glanced at the comments again (looking at this post because I’m adding a link to it on the sidebar), and I can’t believe I made that error (corrected now). I wasn’t completely hopeless in English class. Honestly. Ah, well. So it goes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: