Tuesday, November 10, 2009

the teacher i wasn't

the teacher i was today was not patient, kind, or nurturing.
the teacher i was today did not give specific praise,
did not celebrate wrong answers because they showed smart thinking,
did not listen to explanations.

the teacher i was today did not take time to explain
did not say,
"what can you do to solve that problem yourself?",
did not break down tasks into smaller pieces to make children successful.

the teacher i was today bit her lip during guided reading
because three readers sat, staring at a word
without trying anything.

the teacher i wasn't would have said,
"what can you do to figure out that word?"
the teacher i was sighed,
"i told you that word during the book introduction!
can't you remember?"
"no- stop sounding out words- is that going to help you? no! look at the picture".

the teacher i wasn't would have said,
"wow, great job listening to those sounds.
but that's still not helping- what else can you do?"

the teacher i wasn't would have knelt down
eye to eye with a wiggly friend
to give a quiet but firm reminder that we don't talk during the fire drill.

the teacher i was snapped her fingers
and pointed at a spot away from the group.
"i said no talking" the teacher i was sighed,
rudely, showing no respect for the child.
the teacher i wasn't wouldn't have cared
that other teachers may see this rude little boy
and judge
- the teacher i wasn't would have modeled the right thing to do,
praised him for doing part of it right,
and firmly, but respectfully insisted that he show us how to do it.

i hope the teacher i wasn't will come back tomorrow.
the one i love- the one who gets results-
who sees small steps to take to help reach children-
who has patience for struggling readers.

i hope the teacher i was will go to bed early,
relax, read a book, and slowly turn back into the teacher i wasn't.
because this job is too hard
to be the teacher i was.


Jenny said...


Sadly, I was that same teacher today. I have hopes for tomorrow as well.

Jill Fisch said...

Wow! Fantastic poem. I know that many teachers can relate to this. I know I can. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I always enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

I was this teacher today. Not the one you weren't, but the one you were.


It doesn't take much to throw us off our game, does it? You inspired me to write about my own experience failing as a teacher today, on my blog. Thanks for the encouragement.