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A Mother's Just Deserts

The Good Teacher

By Alison Tennent - The Celtic ChameleonPublished 15 days ago 4 min read
created by author in midjourney all rights reserved

In the morning hush before they descended, Judy practiced being kind. It didn't come naturally. She focused on breathing and meditation and the positives the day would bring. Judy prided herself on not raising her voice or using sarcasm with her students, so she could always make the claim "I don't speak to you disrespectfully, so please don't answer me that way" without earning a snigger.

Which was why she found Connor's eye-rolls and knowing glances so irksome. It was as though he understood perfectly that it was all a veneer. That there was something else hiding beneath her calm demeanour.

She was growing impatient with his precocious habits, until that Monday morning group where she overheard him tell the others "Well my mum said I'm a little bastard. She's always saying that." With a giggle, to mask the uncomfortable silence. And then Lucy, bless her heart, had moved the conversation along.

Judy thought of roots and of branches; of apples and trees.

On the morning Connor came to class limping, she decided to have a little chat with his mum, asking her by polite email to make a time after class the next day. She was, by design, out of sight when Leah arrived. "You little bastard" came the hiss "I had to miss my fucking shift for your shit".

Judy briefly closed her eyes, took a breath, and practised her smile before entering the room.

Judy sent the laptop home with Connor with a special surprise gift. An embedded program that picked up enough footage for her to know she wasn't wrong. Well, so far, she never had been.

She pondered, sipping a soothing blend of tea, musing over a sight that always lifted her grateful heart - her own little orchard, nurtured with care on the small farm her own dear dad had left to her.

A little parcel of independence allowing important choices that would have been otherwise impossible.

created by author on midjourney all rights reserved

She bumped into Connor's mum at the neighbourhood bar. In a small town it's rarely difficult to unearth people's hobbies and habits. As Judy had expected, Leah's socials were plastered with "cocktail mommy" posts and other not quite funny, slightly brittle parenting memes, and there were several tagged pics from her favourite establishment.

Leah was surprised, but friendly, as so many of these parents were when they recognised her. Keen to impress upon Judy what a normal, pleasant and caring mother she really was; but happy to have a bit of a rant about her little bastard, when gently encouraged by Judy. It was rarely difficult to coax an outburst and subtly allow them to believe she was on team mum. It was rarely hard to build a swift, trusting rapport.

One of the benefits of being a teacher is that few people think twice about leaving their glass of wine unattended in your presence. So that night, Judy helped a surprisingly inebriated Leah reach her destination.

Connor's dad came back to fill in the parenting gap from his job interstate. He seemed, on the surface, decent enough and a big improvement on Leah. Connor, though subdued and pale, behaved each week less like an abused child and more like his peers, upon his return to school.

But Judy would be watching. Watching both of them. 

created by author in midjourney all rights reserved

Judy buried Connor's mum in a corner of her little orchard. The fruit there reflected the quality of the rich, loamy soil, which was the envy of her neighbours. What was her secret?

One of Judy's hobbies was making apple pies from the bounty from her generous garden, and she also enjoyed bringing the fruit to school to share with the other teachers, and sometimes even the parents. She didn't offer the apples to her children. They didn't seem to mind receiving lollipops instead.

It was her turn again to bring dessert for morning tea. As they cheerfully tucked into a warm, succulent apple pie, with just a hint of cinnamon, one of her colleagues took an appreciative bite and thanked her cheerily with a well-worn compliment.

"I love it when it's your turn, Judes. An apple from the teacher. You're the best."


Copyright Alison Tennent, all rights reserved


About the Creator

Alison Tennent - The Celtic Chameleon

Just open your veins and write.

Find me on Substack https://celticchameleon.substack.com/

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (10)

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  • Verse Vixen10 days ago


  • Lori Melton12 days ago

    This is fantastic- great imagery! 😊

  • Caroline Craven12 days ago

    Great stuff! I love this story.

  • Linda Rivenbark12 days ago

    There is so much mystery and intrigue in this story, it led me on from one line of thinking to another trying to figure out what Judy was really up to, but the ending suggested more than I ever would ha I ve imagined. Truly a psychological portrait of human behavior. I hearted the story and subscribed.

  • Rey Visionary12 days ago

    Great story!!! Expecting more🧡

  • Em Starrrrr12 days ago

    Really well-written! Love the theme.

  • aly suhail13 days ago

    Great storytelling, keep it up.

  • Pranjal Bordoloi13 days ago

    Very nice story

  • I read your story and I must say, it really drew me in. The way you described Judy's struggle to practice kindness and her interactions with her students was very relatable. I found myself rooting for her to succeed and overcome her own inner turmoil. The twist with Connor's mom was unexpected and added a layer of complexity to the story. It made me question Judy's motivations and whether her actions were truly altruistic or if there was something darker at play. The way you left it open-ended left me with a lot to ponder.

  • Michele Hardy15 days ago

    Oh this was just fantastic! Great story and such a fun tale of justice. Great job!

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