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Oliver Kleyer

Your favourite teacher

Watched by our plushy mascot

on the upper shelf, I

go on pretending to teach

my students anything useful. 

What else can I do

with a heart of chalk and

red ink in my veins (I wish

I could change the colour). 

What do I answer when 

somebody asks me: 

“What are you?”

I am a clock, I am a bell, 

I twist my students’ tongues

until they can wrap them 

around each precious “th”. 

I am a watch dog, patrolling 

the classroom, hunting for the

questions my students might have. 

The other day, just before class, 

one of them smiled at me and said:

“You are my favourite English teacher.”

Then adding,  with a bit of bitter-

sweet whimsy: “Actually, you’re

my only English teacher.”

About the Author: Oliver Kleyer works as a teacher in a refugee camp in Northern Germany. He writes in German and English. His works can be found in The Creative Zine, Trash to Treasure, One Art and elsewhere. He skeets at


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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