About the monsterness of teachers in a sweet story that demonstrates how getting to know a person can change presumptions

Peter Brown, My Teacher Is a Monster! No, I Am Not.

Published 2014 by Little, Brown and Company, 36p

It is fascinating to analyze how children see the grown-ups, the way they perceive the behavior and reactions of family, educators or strangers. This morning, on our way to school, Ema asked me if the new teacher (here teachers change every year) is going to shout and punish the children, as they are in Year 1 now. I explained that age is not a criterion for teachers to shout at students and she should not be worried about this aspect as she is a well-behaved girl but I was amused and intrigued by her question. Then I remembered how I used to see my teachers in the first years at school, how enigmatic and scary I found some of them. For children, teachers don’t live in the real world, I don’t think too many kids can picture them living a life outside the classroom. They are just teachers, not normal people.

Anyway, we ended our conversation talking about a funny story written by Peter Brown which fully describes children’s psychology, their perception of a person responsible for teaching them discipline.


Bobby had a big problem at school – his teacher, Miss Kirby. A reptilian, monstrous woman, with green body and enormous sharp teeth, Miss Kirby stomped and roared and disapproved paper aeroplanes in class. Bobby’s terror grew when one Saturday morning he met Miss Kirby in the park. The moment is awkward for both of them.

Bobby wanted to run! He wanted to hide! But he knew that would only make things worse.

So he raised his hand to ask a question, Miss Kirby reminded him that outside classroom he could speak freely and this way a timid dialogue was initiated. When the wind blew the teacher’s favourite hat, Bobby brought it back, Miss Kirby called him a hero and gave him a piece of paper for an aeroplane.


The more time they spent together, the more human the teacher became. Her colour changed from green to brown, her big nostrils and sharp teeth disappeared and

By lunchtime, Bobby and Miss Kirby were happy they had bumped into each other.


At school Miss Kirby still stomped and roared but Bobby had understood that teachers are people, not monsters in disguise.

Illustrations courtesy of Peter Brown.

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