RDP: Stentorian

The Scariest Teacher

One of the most feared teachers at our Primary School was Mrs Phillips. She was an old school teacher who did not stand for any nonsense.

“How dare you?” she would bellow in a stentorian voice when anything displeased her. Every kid dreaded being in her class. One of our cousins was unlucky enough to get her two years in a row.

cursive writing sample
handwriting sample by Angel Belsey Flickr

Mrs Phillips pet subject was handwriting and if she was acting as a relief teacher for another class it was a fair bet that she would make the class practice their cursive writing. We had a handbook showing how each letter should look and if your loops were not the same size or your “t’s” were not crossed or “I’s” dotted you would feel her wrath. I did not have neat handwriting so I dreaded her appearance in my classroom.

The other problem with Mrs Phillips was that she did not like interruptions. If you were so bold as to put your hand up to ask her something after she had told you to get on with your work you would wind up regretting it.

Naomi fell foul of her in this way when she raised her hand in class to ask if she could leave her desk to sharpen her pencil. The woman would not even let her ask the question and the result was a piece of very messy handwriting which made her furious.

photo from Pxfuel

I don’t know how old Mrs Phillips was but I imagine she might have been around the age that I am now. Perhaps when she was at home with her family she was different but to me it seemed that she must hate children and the kids in our school were not unusually badly behaved.



I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on WordPress.com with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.


  1. She sounds like the kind of teacher my grandma would have been. Whether brought up in the same manner or if sad life experiences made them rather bitter,some people sour rather than mellow as they age.
    Thanks for sharing your memory for our prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also had Mrs Seymour as my teacher in grade three. She was the nastiest teacher ever. She made me stand on a chair and say my tables. I didn’t know them very well so she hit me with a ruler every time I got one wrong. I had to go back to the beginning and start over. I got more and more hits with the ruler on the back of my legs. I didn’t cry but I was really upset and scared.She had to let me go back to my desk in the end as I truly did not know the work. She was always screaming and yelling at us poorer students so it was a very difficult environment to learn anything in. Thank God she left after two terms. How I hated that woman.


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