Jayatissa K. Liyanage

Walasmulla, Sri Lanka
Jayatissa K. Liyanage
Walasmulla, Sri Lanka
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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
POET'S NOTES ABOUT THE POEM
This is based on a real incident.
READ THIS POEM IN OTHER LANGUAGES
COMMENTS
Jayatissa K.Liyanage 30 June 2019
Thank you so much, Dr Dillip
0 0 Reply
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
0 0 Reply
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
0 0 Reply
Jayatissa K.Liyanage 01 December 2018
Thank you Valsa for the comment.
0 0 Reply
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.
0 0 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 27 November 2016
Teacher and student! Real incident. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
0 0 Reply
Elena Sandu 09 November 2016
Great poem! I am so sorry for your ear, probably for those days was one of the kindest ways to punish, I am so glad the education system is different now. Otherwise, excluding the awful treatment your teacher seemed to have done a good job as you became a great writer, using the letters he taught.. Wonder how many of your classmates keeps using English in their daily lives....
0 0 Reply
Jayatissa K. Liyanage 24 February 2016
Hi, Thank you for your comment. Same time, I feel that most in town environs today can't visualize this situation about six decades ago in an utterly rural village where not many in elegant outfits stepped in. Way he arrived at our school that day, still I remember, was totally strange to all of us. Clad in long white pants, and long sleeved shirt, wearing a big thick hat and a pair of black shoes took us by bewilderment. Amazing o reminisce all that after so long.
0 0 Reply
Navod Dilhara 24 February 2016
According to my true point of view, I would like to mention that you have written this marvelous poem based on your true expressions towards your revered teacher in old time. Why did you say that he was walking with an Alien walk? by the way. I wandered..
0 0 Reply
Sarita Milliner 14 February 2016
Nice, I felt the passion of this poetic write!
0 0 Reply
Ahmed Gumaa Siddiek 06 February 2016
Very nice experience. well versed. I think it is a stereotype event. Nice poem
0 0 Reply

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