Memory 101

New semester, new faces,
new rooms, new timetable,
new students, new excuses,
new thoughts, new learning,
see new memories forming,

and me..

..not so new.

Curious faces beam at me;
here are Psych majors – READY,
wishing their lecturer would just
guide them through gently.

Motivation.. ..check
Enthusiasm.. ..check
Audio/visual equipment.. ..check
Relevant, humorous examples….check
Simple, straightforward,
plain-speaking explanations..


It’s all too easy:
these theories now seem obvious,
when once upon a time they taxed me.

I can’t remember,
I can’t remember what was difficult.
I can’t remember,
I can’t remember the feeling of confusion.
I can’t remember,
I can’t remember that Eureka moment of insight.

I feel ancient,
like an oracle that’s never NOT known.
I want to remember,
I want to remember – how else will I relate to them?

I can’t remember,
I can’t remember.
So begins the new semester,
and the irony of teaching Memory 101.

Listen on soundcloud. Entered for dverse poets open link night.


35 thoughts on “Memory 101

  1. ha….we have to be careful as teachers that we dont get too comfortable with our material and get so far removed from our students…it starts to eat at our passion…i feel you in your verse today being a teacher myself…

    • I was trying to capture the different types of memories we have. So I do have a general memory of finding things hard, but somehow the specific details have become abstract.

    • Sometimes at the start of the year, we are sent emails reminding us of the potential generational differences between us (e.g., they probably have never used a circular dial phone, and life without a mobile phone would seem alien etc.). It’s easy to take things for granted..

  2. Sometimes it is hard to put ourselves back into the position of being a learner….and to remember when the things that are being taught were the things we ourselves were learning. It sounds like you CAN remember and DO relate.

    • Thanks Apryl. Memories are very much reconstructions, and recalling something of the past will be coloured by our present circumstance, so I suppose memories revealed are never the same from one remembrance to another.

  3. I felt remembered anxiety of starting something new, sitting with a book unopened, pencils and wondering if the teacher was kind. You took me back and led me to remember. Love the irony of Memory 101.

  4. It’s easy to forget the times when the concepts we are teaching were strange, alien and difficult to us. One way to avoid this is to always be learning new things, exploring new areas of knowledge and stretching ourselves.

    • I totally agree Tony. I just have to be careful in stretching myself that I don’t overstretch them. I sometimes spot them smiling in a way that suggests they are enjoying my entertaining enthusiasm (like I’m a mad professor), but I’m not sure we are all still on the same page! At least I try for reflective practice..

  5. Ooh, did not expect that last line! The older we get the more our memory seems to fade. Oh, to see life through untrained, unjaded eyes again. But much to be said about knowledge and experience too. It takes a fine line to guide the uninitiated. Well penned!

    • Thanks Ginny. I do try and set assignments that will teach me something new, so that the knowledge gap isn’t too unequal, and the students (hopefully) feel they have a voice.

  6. That is a clever twist in the ending..ha..ha…Though I don’t go to school, I still continue to study and take courses to keep my mind active ~ Enjoyed your piece ~

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