John Marsden Writing Topic #357

Write in the form of a poem a recipe for an afternoon designed to drive a teacher mad**

The Substitute Teacher

She gets the permission slips and lesson ready,

to face the excursion in the afternoon

she prepares herself

so the students won’t catch on

that she’s a substitute.


Alas, the students know the truth

and made some wild plans:

singing on the bus as loud as they can

to give her a headache,

mucking up,

never shutting up,

trying to drive her insane.


Talkin’ while the tour guide leads the bush walk,

eatin’ food and makin’ it crunch

runnin’, jumpin’, takin’ plunges,

to make the teacher scream.

Inflicting her discipline,

she mutters to herself,

“I’m too old for this!”


Running around,

tryin’ to disappear,

tryin’ to make her shed some tears,

but she knows every trick in the book

and tries to “kill” them with a look.


Gatherin’ up the herd,

gettin’ them back on the bus,

she’s had enough,

she’s not takin’ it anymore!

Like them, she’s made her own plans too

for when they walk

back in the classroom door.


She gets them off the bus,

makin’ it clear

they won’t ‘get outta here’ anytime soon.

They’re on detention

for causing her tension

and drivin’ her mad

for no good reason.


She sits down at her desk,

keeps a watchful eye

over her delinquents,

she rubs her forehead and sighs,

she may be a substitute

but they’ll never bring her down.

It hasn’t happened since.


She gets the permission slips and lesson ready,

to face the next excursion…


**Reference: Marsden J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.


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