I Teach While Learning

There is a humbling reality

while we try to understand

how our own brevity

can impact our command

~

Last night I dropped acid

on textbooks in minutia

my anger erupted an acrid

forced freedom in Ischia

~

We can so easily fall away

the choices will fuel martyrdom

I remember that one day,

I felt the earth in my kingdom.

~

but it slipped away as any

ego driven desire will go

I’d forgotten my way many

days before I’d begun to know.

~

Perhaps I’ll settle in the knowledge

We can bring them in off the ledge.

If Not For That

We wake to the morning

asking for our soul,

at least for a few hours,

protect the innocent,

that sort of thing that eats away,

asks you with a constant

urgency.

Do you have to be that way,

could you maybe perhaps

try it another way.

Does it always have to be,

the way you want it to be.

I feel a constant pressure,

at my back, in my face,

crawling along my skin,

each glance, each breath,

my takeaway is nothing short of,

really dissatisfying.

Yet, when I stop to breathe

(a rare reality)

I sometimes come to terms

with how base my society is,

how simple an analogy I could toss around,

and satisfy so many onlookers.

I have to consciously allow my life to unfold,

and when I do,

when that really does happen,

when I might feel the beauty of life around me,

rather than the angst of not having any energy,

when that occurs,

well, that’s really the best time to

teach.

Who Do We Serve?

I open my curtains and the light shatters the room with brilliance,

such is the life of a teacher on opening day of the school year.

Fresh minds invade the quiet peace of a marble castle

only to gradually tear down the mortar slivered throughout walls

of academic prowess. These are our children, these are their needs,

and we are licensed to bring them to the next level.

I haven’t cashed out yet, so allow me a story please.

I like to be loved, liked, thought of as a good person,

I usually count on that to battle the voices in my head.

While the days go by I will encounter eager minds,

the students that will live our lives over again tomorrow.

I wish their happiness,

i wish their dreams to explode with much success,

I need to certainly understand my life as I stand here

is designed for them if that is the legacy I choose.

So feel the brilliant rays take over the room,

here we are together on a journey for the year.

Let’s realize goodness together, and let’s hope my hope

is the offer of support, guidance and exemplar notes ahead.

Watch Me Unravel

I stand before you with all the humanity I can possibly muster,

yet, I will be sure to cover it up with some facade of well being.

~

I realize we must bring to our students the best of our wares,

and while doing so, I will need to be a guiding mentor indeed.

~

There’s a certain beauty in being a planned member of society,

rather than simply living by the seat of my pants.

~

A classroom of empty desks, all readying themselves for new souls,

those that will embrace the passion being garnered by a mentor.

~

I stand before you my colleagues and express my genuine concern,

please help me find my stability, the energy that helps this room to move.

~

A day of staff development that all of us with little question agreed,

could better be spent doing shots at a local brewery nearby, (oops)

~

Ah, but alas, that is the part we always suggest at the start of the year,

will be put aside to endear and engage the souls of our assigned siege.

~

I am easily delighted by a smile, a joke, or an off-handed remark,

that allows me to be less human just for only a short time more.

~

Before the legions arise over the horizon in numbers of greatest need,

stomping through the wheat fields whose harvest has passed me by.

~

Strap up, grab a writing utensil, notice the purpose of my white boards,

with a delightful smile, open the door while we let our humanity join hands.

Standards and Values

oh to delineate the mix of passions,

when all the heads converge in mourning,

the start of their own quiet circus,

to be revealed upon the main stage.

~

Theirs is a craft unlike any other,

a territorial nirvana perhaps in eyes

solo to the universe. Nearby, questions

always remain, tamed in discretion.

~

What heaven-sent ideals do bring

out the comfort of each participant,

in a common measure of sanity

in the beholder’s eyes we worry.

~

Often so easily forgotten in the flurry

of the day’s planning, the memory

that divines a lesson plan, suddenly

shattered in the throes of our humanity.

~

We are really simple folk with a passion

toward reaching the mecca, the pinnacle,

the over-arching, pendulum swaying

essence of a child’s swift education.

~

Numbers and charts, workable Venn

diagrams litter the monitors today.

Each professed design uniquely stable

in the eyes of the frightened minion.

~

Today begins again a journey everyone

familiar can appreciate, the anxiety,

the euphoric nature of creating a glint

in the eye of our student awaits.

~

This year, “I will reach more of them”

is the common phrase said quietly

while watching, looking, stealing

the ideas of our neighbor the teacher.

~

In a moment of purposeful disdain,

we accept the standards, the bubbles

remain in the minds of our surrogate

‘elder’ whose design we must enrich.

~

Remember, my elbow partner, to breathe

while we again beckon a desire to teethe.

A Teacher’s Lament

Where to now the speaker suggests,

wondering how to run away,

or perhaps the willingness to stay

is stronger than any of their behests.

~

We live lives mapped on calendars

those we glance to progress

trying to maximize less

all in the nature of being their mentors.

~

How quickly we notice the summer sky

begin to play with our security

dabbling closer to reality

while we plan our classes screaming ‘why!’

~

Oh, to live in the eternal month of May,

to know the end is certainly near

to listen, the wisps of fresh air we hear,

already in my august, I do miss today.

~

Yet extraordinary days lay just ahead,

the minds of our younger learners,

they count on our being yearners,

in simple success – even something read

~

The academic calendar has called to say hello

‘we wish in future months to own your soul!’

A Conversation (prose)

peace

dialogue

I went to lunch with a friend today and we got onto the subject of coping skills. We’re both teachers and we encounter a lot of teenagers on a regular basis, most of which carry a lot of baggage into the classroom each day. There are times when we truly do not get the full extent of what is happening in their lives being so caught up in our own need to deliver an assignment, a lesson plan, an expectation. We seldom take the time to ponder a world outside of our own.

My friend began the dialogue by referencing a particularly charming young individual whom we both have had extensive interactions with. I mentioned this student’s personal struggles, and he agreed and we both immediately remarked about how this young person’s integrity is such a measure of their character surrounded by the constraints of having to survive in a society that can be ruthless and demanding. I looked at my friend and remarked about how times like this make my more prominent issues become rather trivial and this reality leaves me feeling shallow in the light of another’s personal struggles. He followed with a theory that we all provide ‘gifts’ in our own unique manner. I knew what he was saying but it certainly didn’t give me an opportunity to feel like I was off the hook.

We both chose teaching for the chance to change people’s lives in a positive way. We certainly didn’t choose this profession with a goal in mind to make our charges feel miserable. In education today, we are in an ever-changing atmosphere of new initiatives and proposals to address and hopefully change the way we teach our students. A lot of that focus is to better education, and reduce the constant scrutiny that schools, and more importantly in this case, teachers receive in regards to their ability to prepare children for a successful future. Conversations like this one often leave me feeling curious, not confused mind you, but simply wanton of a solution to my purpose both in the classroom and in my life.

Having the ability to know why we are who we are and what we will become is a huge asset when determining our path in life. I can easily use nostalgic memory and pointedly look at different periods of my life and know the mess I was as perceived by the society around me, and with more certainty my own evaluation of my accomplishments as I plodded through a couple of directionless decades of my young adult life. Today, I look back and recognize the frailties of my actions, and I also am left to consider how my life choices might have brought different results had I been more conscious of my future. I may sit in a room of group recovery and not have to wait long before someone makes the common remark, “I don’t regret any of the mistakes I made in my life. They have helped me become the person I am today.” Though there certainly is truth to that analogy, one must I believe, also acknowledge that those ‘life-changing’ mistakes could have been easily avoided, and life might have been a tad easier than the challenges that consumed the reparation of those errors. Ok, so back to my point of conversation amongst friends.

What today’s conversation left me with is contemplating how relative our lives may be in the bigger scheme of things. That seems like a shallow outcome at this writing, but it is what I am left with at the moment. When I think about a student who has lost someone at a young age, and is asked to return to their daily identity without missing a beat, I find myself rather impressed with that resilience. That reality makes my life feel trivial as I said earlier, so what do I do about it? Here is my partial solution.

I will appreciate the beauty of their being, their ability to endure the travesty or choices that have been placed before them, certainly not their own choosing. I will offer my own support and admiration for their ability to capture the true essence of natural humility that has allowed their lives to become easier within the face of pure terror and sadness, and express my gratitude for their showing me how to recognize the sweeter realities of our existence as human beings on this earth.

Feels like a God moment to me now … I do cherish these conversations!

We Are Teachers

teach

We spend our days

Walking hallways

Saying hello

Being mellow,

In the eyes of our young minds,

In the hopes they might unwind

The tension that drives their soul

The gathering storm of the coming lull.

~

Yet they are not aware

While challenges that dare

Welcome their human nature

That demands they be mature

In their daily affairs as gathered steam

Becomes the smoking gun they esteem

Might help identify a quest of arrival

Fulfills a need allows them safe travel.

~

We spend an assigned hour

Classrooms that may devour

The very spirit of our youth

If we call them out as uncouth

In the eyes of their peers on a spring morning

-Not knowing home life bring some mourning-

In our zest to understand

We choose a safe reprimand.

~

Ask another individual if you will

That your attitude today is shrill.

Without knowing, without even a thought

We ignore the battle that has been fought

Hope evolves only upon a notion

That suggests some real emotion

We sometimes need to surely recognize

Our determined ignorance cannot be wise.

~

We spend our lives in circles quiet

Just out of earshot of truth albeit

Those serious moments we shudder

To imagine confronting one another

On the ills of our self directed

Desire now to have resurrected

A distant soft memory when we were wrong

Remember summer day’s brought love along

~

A child’s cry soon might then be heard

When fear would only bring a word

Harsh in juvenile shouts ugly and cold

Question my drills, he reacts, my so bold

I will gather with friends who know the pain

The real challenge of dealing with the inane

Nature of the lost child who knows desires

Learn,breathe, grasp hold of what life inspires.

~

For yes today we are teachers who sit amongst strangers

Wondering out loud with little regard toward selfish dangers!

I Am A Teacher

When I was a child and the autumn leaves began to turn
I would listen to my mother while we walked to school in pace
Her gait a proud posture evincing energy’s evolved sojourn
Me walking by her side, carrying my lumber (a trumpet in case)

I love this time of year
When summer’s time earns
A crisp bite in the air
Emanating familiar yearns
The cafeteria, reminds me
I am a teacher; hear me

We lived close by the grade school. I carved my identity here
She taught fourth graders how to be exceptional in life’s moment
Always hoping they might remember her ideals next year
When in fifth grade passed on, a new mentor might mete their talent

I recall loving my mother
A young student now alone
My world moves upon another
Journey towards an unknown
Sea of children with each other
Learning knowledge and tone

Later in life I would routinely ride a city bus across town
A book bag by my side continuing to hone my skills
Along the avenue my mother walked the same route alone
As I unaware stared quietly out the window on my own

Saw you riding the bus today
She smiled sowing sweet word
I didn’t see you said I in a shy way
Her eyes let me realize afterward
Expressed a contemplative sway
That moved my soft heart forward

I was many years past that early autumn morning walking
In hand with mother experiencing the start of a school year
When I came to terms with her assessment of my riding
On a city bus alone and contemplative with her eyes near

As a young boy walking
I am a teacher; hear me
Every day I am experiencing
A tease, a mystique, a discovery
When aroused by wondering
Her words and eyes direct me

Today, I have my classroom of children that greet me in a fuss
And every fall I recognize similar sounds and sights familiar
I know that she is watching over me as quiet, I ride on my bus
Considering how I might pass on words so that children hear

Today I walk as a teacher
And you are my passion
I operate by a need here
To recognize your elation
Trust we might learn together
I am a teacher and this is my resolution