Why Do I Teach?

Atlanta Schools Cheating

I am wondering tonight,

about the educators,

those that spend their lives,

standing in classrooms,

studying behaviors,

recognizing rigor,

all of them human beings,

sacrificing their lives to help the children.


Where did we lose sight,

when our world began to suggest,

rather than teach, we might just,

give a test.

When did we forget,

to look in their eyes.

How remarkable a time, that a teacher,

an educator feel compelled to

write outside the margin.

What rubric did we cast aside

to fight for originality.


I honestly do love a good test,

especially the one answered with passion.

Though more exciting is when I see the student

that beautiful child,

get it.

When she stands before an audience of her peers,

and suggests,

I get it,

followed by a desire to help us understand …



In Atlanta,

they are wondering why,

just exactly that,

they have years of education aligned together,

one critical mistake –

no one can defend their actions,

they did the ultimate,

they were the academics who were slapped

by high minded and ethical legislation

who suggested, with bold disregard

(for the children)

education cheated …


Our society contains the stockades

builds the platform,

readies the space,

holds the lock and key,

creates the havoc

in order to question that motivation.

Rather than explore the possibilities,

with a slam of the gavel,

they define, decide, clarify, grade, mark up, curve,

a … state … of … grace.


I wonder when I teach when I see

human beings lose sight.

If I simply rely on the paper that defines their soul.

Wait, there’s a mandate on definition.

Instead, we react, we respond to society’s ills,

because rather than care about the child

we are inclined to measure

that worthiness, that integrity, that generalized.

rubric on society.

Clearly, we live by the power of the Man,

and not, until we cry out loud,

not in the eyes of the growing child.


When did we forget?

How did we lose sight of our goals,

what objective did we ignore,

Or did we set any at all.

Tonight, tomorrow, next hour,

I am curious, once more,

‘where will all the children go?’

… why do I teach?


4 responses to “Why Do I Teach?

  1. Working among educators myself, my sense it that many teachers understand the objectives and goals that make sense for students. Meanwhile, we are mandated to do otherwise. I think we are not organized to speak up for what we know is right for the children we work with. Are we too overwhelmed by the demands on us? Too fearful to stand up for what’s right for these children? I’m not sure. But this is a wonderful piece of writing that is a start in reminding me and others that these questions are extremely important for the future of us all.


    • Kate, your response itself is so thoughtful and inspiring. I told a friend of mine yesterday after he posted the article that I was going to try to write about it, but as you suggest, I really didn’t know where to start. So now, with your encouragement, I am going to go back and work on some revisions. I think you are right, the message is clear, we do need to speak for ourselves as teachers, but we do feel like our hands our tied – that fear factor is apparent in the legislative response. Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

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