Thursday, September 6, 2012

'Twas the Day Before Students (a post in verse)

The School District of Philadelphia starts school tomorrow! (I know, who starts the school year on a Friday... but that's a separate issue).  After weeks of prepping and 3 student orientations, I'll greet 150 former "dropouts" tomorrow morning as they begin their journey toward graduation. I always love the first day of school...
In honor of this occasion, I thought I'd flex my poetic muscles. 

'Twas the Day Before Students
‘Twas the day before students, and all through the halls
All the teachers were prepping, even the boss.
The “do now's” were written on the boards there,
In hopes that students soon would care.

The new teachers all bustled around their rooms
Naively ignoring the challenges that loom.
They hung parking lots and word walls, data trackers and more
Plenty of other nonsense that will surely end up on the floor.

What matters are plans, not fancy d├ęcor,
Students want to engage, not basic skills they abhor.
This means critical thinking about relevant issues
Sprinkled with lessons about dangerous ideas they could misuse.

Nerves creep up on even the most seasoned vet.
Will this group be different? Is there a challenge I’ve not met?
What happens if they don’t get it? Will they fail the test?
They’ll put me out on my can, just like the rest.

But I won’t be bullied by any politics.
Only someone who’s never been in urban schools can think there’s a quick fix.
Hard work and passion will win the day.
Of course, respect and funding wouldn’t get in the way.

But back to the schoolhouse before things get real,
Students will be here, so get ready to deal.
Teachers roll with the punches and make do with what’s there,
Because they in life things aren't always fair. 

On the night before students, real teachers toss and turn,
But wake up excited to teach and learn
From students of all backgrounds, races and creeds.
Rarely knowing the direction the new year will lead.

I look forward to seeing many familiar faces
and will begin putting my classes through the paces
At 8:30 am, energetically proclaiming for all to hear,
WELCOME BACK and GOOD MORNING, let’s have an amazing year.  

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