First English Teacher Of Mine Poem by Jayatissa K. Liyanage

First English Teacher Of Mine

Rating: 4.8

Clad in long white pants
Folded ‘n Tucked up at ankle
Seated on mate's cycle bar
Arrived he, at our village school
The first ever English Teacher

Every eye alike, turned un-blinked
Observing his alien walk
In astonishment, entire school
In high volume, shouted
Ayubovan (Welcome) , in harmony!

To the entire school
Opening his first voice, said
'It is good for all to learn
Her Majesty's tongue
From Great Britain.' Wow!

What a great thing, we thought
On the chalk board he drew
Some strange letters and
Pointing at each with a stick, read
Asking us to follow

A....., B......, C.... and so on
He went on in solo, and we followed
like in chorus, clattering roof tiles
After several repeats, he softly said
'By heart these and come tomorrow'

Next day, called us one by one
And asked to read all letters
Some did, but I couldn't
For, none at home could help me
Which, I admitted to our revered Sir

Twisting my earlobe he asked
'Am I to come to your house,
To Teach English, you fool? '
Yet, being most venerated teacher
I salute you Sir, even many decades hence
With utmost, deep hearted respect!

Monday, February 23, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: teacher
This is based on a real incident.
Loyd C Taylor Sr 23 June 2015

Hello poet friend Jayatissa. It is wonderful that you had a good teacher and it has proven to be a blessing to you and all whom you now teach as well. I enjoyed your poem of tribute. I also wanted to thank you for the kind review and comments you made about my poem, The Pastor's Wife. Your words were a true blessing. Loyd C. Taylor, Sr.

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Thank you Loyd.

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Valsa George 28 May 2015

Several years back, English language was totally alien especially to the rural folk! The teacher's reaction on your inability to learn ABC is so typical of the village masters then.... turning or twisting the ear lobe! Though teachers used to be harsh, they were so concerned about their students' well being and students loved and respected them! Enjoyed this excursion to old times!

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Your genuine concern to share views is profoundly appreciated. Thank you.

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Jayatissa K.Liyanage 30 June 2019

Thank you so much, Dr Dillip

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Dr Dillip K Swain 30 June 2019

What a great thing, we thought/On the chalk board he drew/Some strange letters and/Pointing at each with a stick, read/Asking us to follow...I can very well imagine the classroom ambience with such a great teacher steering his pupils! A wonderful tribute to your teacher sir.....10

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Valsa George 30 November 2018

This has been you first initiation into the Queen's Language! I must say that even though the approach of your teacher had been a little rash, you were fortunate to have learnt the first lessons of English language from an Englishman! A beautiful account! A 10

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Jayatissa K.Liyanage 01 December 2018

Thank you Valsa for the comment.

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Rupert Hentzau 01 November 2017

This is really a good poem, and I believe it happened. But your skill with the English language must be improved. Suppose you had written this in Sinhalese and had it been translated by an expert, I would have enjoyed it even more. I remember school, I was perhaps 10 years old, and in Class 6, and we had this dreadful PT teacher. He was always dressed in white T short and white shorts. He carried a wooden baton, like how the police constable carries his stick. (You can call it a truncheon, but most people won't understand the word!) Well, we young fellows were Gathered in the evening Lining up for PT (Physical Training In the hot evening sun) And this fellow in white Was barking out orders (Something like Stand-at-ease! and Attention!) And I failed to respond. My mind was elsewhere. Then suddenly the brute Came up to me and rapped me On my head with his baton. It really hurt. I was in a daze. I can never forget The stupid cruelty of this stupid PT teacher. This happened 50 years ago. Had it happened in 2016 The brute would have been booked For a criminal act, Causing injury with a blunt instrument Upon the skull of a weak young 6th Class student.

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Edward Kofi Louis 27 November 2016

Teacher and student! Real incident. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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Jayatissa K. Liyanage

Jayatissa K. Liyanage

Walasmulla, Sri Lanka
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