"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Teacher

It's time for what seems to have become my once-a-month post. If I want time to write these days, I must get up at 4 o'clock in the morning. The children here in Michigan are all back in school and it seems appropriate to finally post this poem that has been in my drafts folder since last winter. I think most everyone has a teacher in the family, or as a friend. This is for them, the real heroes of today.


The kindergarteners have to pee all the time and want their mothers.
She plays her piano for them and buys crayons and gold stars with her own money.

The first graders have learned to lie
and she takes away their stars.

The second graders build alliances and rat on each other.
She buys maps of the world and teaches outside the test.

The third graders are clothes whores.
She works up their lesson plans to the sweep of the janitor.

T
he fourth graders invent new allergies and disorders
and she pleads for more recess time to make them fit and strong.

The fifth graders forge their parent’s signatures
and she steels herself for the conference.

The middle school students pierce their bodies and experiment.
She pleads for music in the classroom and a place for art.
But they took away her piano and told her to teach to the test.

15 comments:

Anthony Duce said...

The truth of this is sad… But I enjoyed the word play a lot..

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Tony!
Thank you. Yes, every day you hear of more and more schools who don't have enough money to operate efficiently. Defund the public school system so it isn't performing and then replace it with for-profits.

Frances Garrood said...

Oh, all those targets! Lovely post, Yvonne.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Frances,
Thank you so much!

Vanessa V Kilmer said...

Yes, teachers are not encouraged to teach, just indoctrinate.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Nessa,
Sad state of affairs. And there are sooooo many excellent teachers out there. Thanks for commenting!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love this!! It's so sadly true in so many places. I'm glad in our district our board is a little more free and open and I get to include all the art/music/fun/phys ed that I want!! :)

Yvonne Osborne said...

Jemi,
You are fortunate in that respect. I think it would be very frustrating as a teacher, especially in the early years, to have restraints on things like music and art, so important to early development. Thanks!!

G-Man said...

I can't WAIT until Harvest is over!

Yvonne Osborne said...

G-Man,
You are so funny! But thank you. It's nice to be missed.

Al said...

When will we wake up to the fact that testing is not teaching?

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Al,
That's a nice way to put it...."testing is not teaching."
Thanks.

J.B. Chicoine said...

I do particularly like the 'teacher-student' theme. So much that could be said there, but you summed it all up with eloquence.

Wendy R said...

I recognises the teacher, the children and the dilemmas an ocean and a generation away. Moving poem.w.

Yvonne Osborne said...

JB,
Thank you so much.

Hi Wendy,
Nice to meet you! Thank you so much for commenting. I appreciate it!