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The Power of Teachers – Friday Fictioneers

Good afternoon, my faithful readers!  Yes it is Wednesday-Friday!  Time for Friday Fictioneers.  This week’s photo is courtesy of J.Hardy Carroll, a fine writer to be sure.  Our hostess is über-talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who, without fail, shows up weekly with a new challenge.  ‘Twill be most interesting to see what the 80-odd other writers in this challenge come up with.  If you should care to check it out, please click on Monsieur Frog right below.  Maybe you have an idea of your own? Then do join in!  It’s free!  It’s fun!  It’s a great way to learn how to ‘cut the fluff’ from your writing…

©J.Hardy Carroll


The Power of Teachers

“Ring, ring, ting-a-ling, hello.  Ring, ring, ting-a-ling hello.

When the telephone is ringing, I’m the one who comes to answer…

Ring, ring, ting-a-ling hello!

“Do you remember when Mrs. Bell made us sing that stupid song in music class?”

Lucy made a face.  “Like I want to remember that witch.  She hated my guts.”

“Really?  For me it was Miss Dunn.”

“She always made me feel so stupid…”

“Dunn marked me down, said school was too easy, I didn’t have to try…”

“Took me years to gain my self-confidence back.”

Teachers can really make or break a child, can’t they?


92 thoughts on “The Power of Teachers – Friday Fictioneers

  1. Yes!
    When I first started studying Eng. Lit. I had a teacher tell me I’d better learn how to write if I wanted to stay in the program…when that was ALL I wanted to do and did in my spare time. Took a long while to get the confidence back up.
    Good story, Dale! I know lots of people can identify.

  2. Dear Dale,

    I love how you go where no one else has gone. I still want to find the guidance counselor who told me I wasn’t college material and should go to trade school or get married. 😉
    Perhaps we should call the frog Monsieur Grenouille. (Then teach everyone how to pronounce it.)
    As always, your story evoked emotion. The mark of a well written piece.



    • Dear Rochelle,

      I love that I take you where no one else has gone (you know how I like to be different!) I guess many people have had “that” teacher (the original title of my story) that did his/her best to remove all confidence from us…

      Oui, oui! Monsieur Grenouille! “gre-noo-ye” 😉

      Thank you so much for your kind words… Always appreciated!

      Lotsa love,

  3. It’s ABSOLUTELY true that what your teachers told you matters later in life! My french teacher urged me and praised me on to keep up my french classes and boy am I ever glad I did! 🙂

    • Nice! I have had some wonderful teachers who guided me and encouraged me – thank goodness they are all NOT Miss Dunns….

  4. Indeed they can. I was so fortunate, in a sick way I suppose, to have the opportunity to do school all over again from the basics as an adult. Unlike the first time (as a child), I was surrounded by wonderful teachers who actually answered questions, encouraged me to go beyond the curriculum in my studies, and helped me to find the way I learn best and to use that to my advantage. To them, I tip my hat! That was $140k (a lifetime debt) that was well spent in my eyes.

  5. Hopefully we remember the good, encouraging teachers and not the teachers like these. Unfortunately, one bad teacher can undo the work of ten good ones.

  6. I’m sad for the children who actually did suffer unfair criticism from a teacher. I’m shocked at how depreciating some teachers can be. Yet the girls in your story sound like such typical teens — for some of them any teacher that actually expects them to work and learn is a witch. (Ditto with bosses and supers once they get a job.)

    The worst I’ve seen: We had one classmate in Gr 11, a 6’3 ‘ski’ (Polish descent) farm boy, a natural bully who towered over and terrorized our poor 5’0 Social teacher. She hailed from Taiwan and I believe it was her first year of actual teaching. We started every class with him smart-mouthing her and her kicking him out. Pathetic! 😦

    • Well these girls were in grade 3 and 5 and one of them – not me, did have to work to regain her self-confidence.
      Poor teacher!!!

      • Whoops! To me they sounded like teens.
        But why ever would a teacher hate an 8 or 9 year old child? Makes me wonder what was happening in that girl’s home, if she felt criticized there and was super sensitive? Or if it was all the teacher’s problem? (Thankfully teachers come and go.)

        When I was in Grade 3 a teacher told me my printing was so bad it was like chicken tracks walking across the page. And she was right, but back then teachers didn’t question what was going on at home.

        • Actually, Mrs. Bell did not like French kids and Lucy is convinced she was jealous of not being able to speak another language. She was mean with all the Frenchies. Her sister (in my class) felt the same. She has since spoke to othe rs who were made to feel stupid too. Yes, thankfully there are more positives out there!
          In my case, I was marked down because she felt school was too easy foe me. WTF? Sorry I was smart! Went from an A student to a C because I didn’t have to try…

          • I’ve never heard of a child being misgraded for being smart! How could she get by with that?!

            The first part I can understand, given some attitudes we’ve encountered in Quebec. The English were losing control and unhappy about that. Mind you, prejudice isn’t limited to one ethnic group or place.

          • She didn’t. For the first time ever, my mother saw fit to go to the parent/teacher meeting! Amazingly, I was back to a straight A report card the following term.

  7. Ain’t that the truth. And having survived it all I’m about to send my two off to nursery and have to worry about the sort of teachers they’re going to have for the next 15 years or so! Always a pleasure to read 🙂

    • Thank you, kind sir. Like in any job, there are good and there are not so good and then there are the wrong career choice!

  8. So very true, Dale. On the whole I had good teachers, but the maths teacher hated me with a vengeance. I’m not much good at maths – I wonder why? Good one.

    • Whew! I’m glad SOMEBODY wasn’t very good at math. I did get better with it, though. I took a physical science course geared for the non-math major and I ended up doing calculus no problem at all! Who knew? Reading music is almost the same, except I enjoy music, even when reading the little black dots can be a stressor at times (and, yes, I was a music major in College — how I got through was with prayer and wings!).

      • I was great at math up to calculus. Then I didn’t bother going further. I should have taken linear algebra but they didn’t offer it at night so I didn’t bother.
        I wanted to learn music but never got around to it. Maybe one day…

        • The instructor to the physical science course said, “OK, we WILL have one math lesson, that’s it.” So, he put up the equation — the dreaded “solve for X” and said, “Now, remember, do this over here, then do this over here.” I followed his instructions and actually solved an algebra problem! Later in the course, I found myself doing calculus problems. All because I just needed the instructions.

          As for music, I think I can read level 3, maybe 4. I played that way, too. So, take that “one day” you want to learn and and I’ll get you to level 3 or 4.

          • I was pretty good at that stuff. I look at my notebooks today and it’s all gibberish.

            Ahh…good to know😘

    • Thank you Sandra. I guess we can’t expect to like or be liked by every teacher but depending on our self-confidence, it could end up costing lots…

  9. I had some teachers I absolutely hated and some who were awesome! You’re right. For some it’s “make or break” and other times it’s golden.

    My grandma was a teacher, my mom and my aunt were teachers, two of my cousins are teachers, one cousin’s daughter is a teacher … if the family had a parakeet, it would have been a teacher!

    I escaped that fate, however, even though I have taught classes in English to Spanish-speakers and some studies on various things.

    BTW, that cute little girl in the picture you posted — she sure turned out to be beauty (you little heart-breaker you!). 😉 MUA!

  10. They didn’t have to work too hard to make me appear stupid, I was pretty good at it without any help. Most of the time I flew under the radar and was a male wallfllower in class.

    I agree with Kent about the photo on the Hollywood Squares cellblock. What a cutie.

  11. Very, very true, Dale. They can smash the confidence right out of you or inspire you to bigger and better things. I wonder if some realise the responsibility they hold? Great tale

  12. Funny but my difficult teachers were later in life when I went to graduate school and a couple of teachers thought I didn’t belong there. I fought back by writing terrific papers to change their minds about me. Don’t mess with fifty-year-olds!

  13. This one resonated with me. I’ve had my share of great teachers and the ones who made me feel worthless. Great take this one is. Cheers

    • I don’t know why some do such a thing… some might believe it will push you to try harder but rare are those motivated by negativity (I had a boss like that. I didn’t last long once he was in “power”)

  14. Your story provokes a strong reaction – teachers have so much to answer for. Counselling friends of mine suggest anyone who wants to be one should have therapy first to find out why – are they the school bully, do they have a God-complex, do they need the safety of school boundaries to function etc? The majority are good, but the bad ones do so much damage.

  15. Time to replace all teachers, with a computer, then we can retrain all the teachers in counselling.😊

  16. Interesting take on the prompt. Some people can undermine your confidence while others can take you to new heights. In our days there was also Corporal punishment as a teaching implement, but mental scars take longer to heal than physical.

  17. That is so true. A teacher in primary school talked my parents into letting me go to highschool (our equivalent for it), because my dad was of the opinion that what was good enough for my elders was good enough for me. I still think fondly of that lady. Then, for several years, I had an English and French teacher who ruled through psychological terror. We all hated him and feared him. He could make you fell like something small and disgusting, making fun of tiny mistakes especially with people he didn’t like.
    Oh, and great story, Dale. 🙂

    • Thank you, Gabi! This little story seems to have struck a chord with quite a few. We have all had fabulous (I hope) and horrid (unfortunately) teachers. Each has served a purpose if we are strong enough to see it.

    • I was a good all-rounder till about 15-16, till I started hanging around different crowds.
      And in your case, that didn’t turn out too bad, did it?

      • Could have turned out better a bit faster, but the University of Life can provide a broad education that helps you see outside the box — that is, if you survive all the trial and error learning that goes with it!

        • I truly believe things happen as they should (that way you never feel like you missed the boat or arrived late!)
          Of course, sometimes we just don’t pay attention sooner…

  18. as a language teacher, your post did touch my heart… ❤ MERCI, Miss Dale! 🙂
    * * *
    bon dimanche et des tonnes d'inspiration! une semaine agréable, légère, sereine… amicalement, Mélanie Bedos-Toulouse

    • Chère Mélanie! Merci. Suis désolée que le temps m’est limité ces temps-ci!
      Tellement contente de reprendre ma lecture se tes wonderful posts!
      Lotsa love,
      Dale 💖

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