The Teacher (Kira K. Homsher)

The teacher often forgot herself in the middle of sentences. When she fell quiet during lectures, the students would look up at her, their faces hopeful and cruel. They doubted her, she knew, and wondered where their tuition money was going. She wanted to give them strange gifts. She wanted to help them unlock the haunting of language. Instead, she showed them PowerPoints on how to send effective emails and how to write with authority

I know writing may not be your favorite thing to do, she’d say, but the whole world is constructed with words. Understanding how to wield them to your advantage will open many doors. For example, all of you will have to write emails, cover letters, resumes…

The students’ faces were blank as ceiling fans. They did not believe in the importance of language. They did not believe they would ever have to write cover letters or resumes and could not understand why she was wasting their time with such nonsense.

They were young and had only ever been young. They didn’t know how to be anything else. 

She asked the class to consider the language of the internet, its many evolutions. The vernacular on Twitter, for example, was unique from that of TikTok. Whether they knew it or not, they were fluent in many dialects.

Oh God, said a girl with pink hair. Are you one of those teachers on TikTok?

The students looked up from their laptops.

No, the teacher lied.

Phew, said the girl.


Kira K. Homsher is a writer from Philadelphia, currently completing her MFA at Virginia Tech. The winner of Phoebe Journal’s 2020 nonfiction contest and a Pushcart nominee, her writing also appears or is forthcoming in Indiana Review, Passages North, Barrelhouse, Hobart, and others. You can find her at and tweeting @bogcritter.


image: MM Kaufman