“Never piss a teacher off . . .” (Homage to Taylor Mali)

They smugly asked about my job — just the other day

and at first, I found my words amiss — I had very little to say.

But it wasn’t that I wasn’t pissed, or didn’t know how to commence,

it’s just that liking to work where I do — it’s hard to make that make sense.

Then these fools said, “Those that can — do. Those that can’t . . .” (Well, you know the rest).

So I really tried to explain things to them (without kicking them dead in their chest).

But my work is multifaceted and hard to understand,

and honestly, just isn’t something enjoyed by an average, everyday man.

Teaching is a superpower and not everyone is called.

Dude. Some of the things we put up with, would make a grown man bawl.

I only have 15-minutes — to Usain Bolt my lunch,

then I have lunchroom duty with a rowdy, hungry bunch.

“Young man take your hat off,” is the way I greet the day,

and “furlough days” are b/s ways they cheat me out of my pay.

I no can longer say “I’m professional”. The culprit? NCLB.

Pols ignored that I went to school for this shit, and stole my autonomy.

And I’m still waiting for day-long bladder control to be recognized as a skill?

As I Houdini my small paycheck, each month, to magically cover big bills.

I can’t happily say, “I’m a teacher!” anymore — I’d risk looking like a fool.

‘Cause so-called, “school reformers,” shift all the blame — say it’s my fault that kids hate school.

Theirs is a place reserved in hell for they’ve ruined and standardized youth.

The C.R.C.T. does nothing for me — I just want to teach — the truth.

Opt out! Testing is being used to punish. Schools, students and teachers all fall.

When the important things we teach your kids, can’t be standardized — at all.

There’s no way to measure broadening minds, the changing perspectives it brings,

when they learn, that ending the Vietnam war, was also Martin’s dream.

I share with every student A Different Mirror of our States.

Explain that 1492 was not just an innocent date.

You see, teachers change minds and attitudes.

We shape hearts and souls.

We direct the course of the future.

We help children realize their goals.

Caring teaching, is a calling and not everyone is called.

Not everyone, is strong enough, to make change for us all.

YOU try to take some children who have never crossed a state line,

and help them comprehend the struggle of a child in Palestine.

Then fight against the status quo, try not to get depressed,

when “adequate yearly progress” is all “those who can” value — at best.

Good teachers challenge meritocracy — we teach kids how to be fair.

Help the next generation be better than us — if they’re willing to take the dare.

We teach Nikki Giovanni, Saundra Cisneros, The Autobiography of Malcolm X,

diverse authors and works — a real U.S. cannon that helps all students progress.

We teach them 2+2. Say western math will take them far,

and show how Incas used yupanas and were able to study the stars.

Whether teaching school in K through 12 or teaching teachers — as I do now,

it’s hard to convey the magnitude of the duty that’s been endowed.

Good teaching is a calling and not everyone is called.

Our true worth can’t be evaluated by numbers on a wall.

And you can’t just pick one of us up at your local shopping mall.

First you must find someone with all of the patience of Job, Peter, and Paul!

So I ended.

“Those that can — do. For right now let’s say that’s true.

but only while I share a truth it seems that you eschew.

The world’s being Trumputized, kids need protection, someone’s got to stand in the breech.”

“Those who can” — pretend that they’re helping.

While those of us who “can’t” stand by and watch the world implode . . .

we teach.

If you’ve ever had an awesome teacher in your life, please share this!

Teacher, reader, writer, eater.