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Inspired by Fizzy Fish: Memories of Great Teachers

Can you identify a particular teacher who shaped the person you are today?

I can. Her name was Mrs Carter and she was simply wonderful.

She wasn’t a big personality. She wasn’t a comedian or an entertainer. She didn’t have a commanding voice or a captivating teaching style. In fact, in many ways, and to many people, she was neither remarkable nor impressive.

Yet to me, Mrs Carter was inspiring. A small lady, softly spoken and gentle; sat down when she taught, spoke quietly and listened intently. Classroom management was not her forte – but it didn’t need to be. In her very being she commanded respect. She was so kind, gentle and humble that you didn’t want to disappoint her; you wanted to impress her.

I could write about Mrs C. extensively. But for now, I want to share a particular story which is on my mind, inspired by the fact that I am eating fizzy fish (you know, the super sour little fish-shaped gummy sweets).

In my second last year of school, my sister, her friend and I would make weekly visits to Mrs Carter’s classroom in our Monday lunch hour. Removed from the main school, her classroom was at the bottom of the campus, next to a field of rabbits. During lunchtime it was a place of serenity and calm.

These weekly gatherings became known as, ‘The Literature Ladies’. We discussed poetry, shared stories and recited monologues. In many ways it inspired my love for literature and learning. What we didn’t know was that every week, after we left her classroom, Mrs C. would put pen to paper and journal about our meetings. When we left school she gave us these beautifully written passages.

Here is the first of the set:


I was the poetic one; the one obsessed with fizzy fish.

Today I am far from that classroom and its rabbit neighbors. Much has changed: I have grown up; I am married; I love on a different continent. However, a lot hasn’t: I still love literature; I still write poetry; I’m still a little crazy; and I’m very much still obsessed with fizzy fish sweets.

What I am keenly reminded of today is how much of who I am and what I love was shaped by Mrs C. and The Literature Ladies; and for that I am extremely grateful.

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