An aging teacher in a modern world

At 61, and having nearly 40 years of teaching behind me, I have observed names over the years. They go in waves, each new semi-decade bringing a boy’s name who you know ranks high on the probability scale of trouble. Television is a great equaliser. Beyond the naming after soap stars, it allows the underclass to latch onto the well- heeled, so that soon the nursery sand tray is crowded with names from a Knightsbridge prep school or a Cotswolds gymkhana.

will hay teacher

An aging teacher in a modern classroom

“It’s Kee – ah,” the girl corrected, every time I pronounced the end of her name “Ik –ah.” Not if the letters are that way round I thought. And carried on, refusing to pander to her mother’s dyslexia.

At home I marked books. Falling asleep, I ticked my way through a forest of Kanes, wondering why parents were attracted by the first murderer in the bible. I dreamt of children with aspirations, but  woke in a cold sweat, thinking of meeting their parents. Snuggling up in the warm security blanket of apathy, I knew its hours were better.

A new day, and the register called.

I sent Tray for the milk.

Made Tyger sit next to Kage.

Then put Kaiser in detention,

for invading Belgium.

Devontae arrived late

and I hoped

for jam and scones.

My daughter is running a half marathon for motor neuron disease research on 13th March. Any donations gratefully accepted at


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