Teaching Profession

Elegy for the Educators

September 23, 2020 1 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE

Editor’s Note: It’s been six months since Dez-Ann Romain, a New York City principal, died of COVID-19, the first known K-12 educator to succumb to the virus that’s now killed more than 200,000 Americans. This poem, by senior contributing writer Catherine Gewertz, pays tribute to the more than 400 teachers, principals, bus drivers, custodians, paraprofessionals, coaches, superintendents, and other staff members we have lost to the pandemic so far.

Six months, and hundreds gone.
The column of numbers can be counted
But not totaled.
When each number was a face that welcomed a child —
whether polishing a floor, explaining division, or closing the school bus door —
there can be no sum. Because each lost part
is too vast, too deep, to quantify.
To the list, one said: “Grief like this is just too much and overwhelming.”
Yes.
Dez-Ann Romain, the first to fall. She led the ones
trying to find their way back.
Marie Pino, whose teaching connected generations.
Pedro Garcia III, whose gentle hands helped children
wrestle down a new language.
In New York, New Mexico, Nebraska, and everywhere in between,
They could not stop for death.
They had lessons to plan, children to greet.
But he stopped for them, and not kindly.
Let us remember
The sound of the schoolhouse bells
When these souls rang them.
And let their dirge not yearn for music;
Let us play their remembrance.

—Catherine Gewertz

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 30, 2020 edition of Education Week as Elegy for the Educators

Events

School & District Management Live Event Education Week Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession 4 Ways Districts Are Giving Teachers More Flexibility in Their Jobs
After a year-plus of pandemic schooling, some experts are seeing momentum for district leaders to reimagine what teaching can look like.
11 min read
Teacher working at home in front of camera.
Getty
Teaching Profession New Teaching Jobs May Emerge With Continued Demand for Virtual Learning
As school districts plan for online learning to continue beyond the pandemic, they'll need teachers to staff those virtual classrooms.
4 min read
Teaching Profession Opinion It's Teacher Appreciation Week. Flowers? Mugs? We're Looking for Something More
This year, teachers were hailed as heroes then denounced as obstructionists, say seven State Teachers of the Year. Here’s what they need.
Owen Bondono, Alisa Cooper de Uribe, Amanda Hargreaves, Kimberly Hee Stock, Justin Johnson, Susan Rosato & Jennifer Wolfe
4 min read
Illustration of a mug.
Collage by Laura Baker and Elizabeth Rich/Education Week (Image sources: mustafahacalaki/DigitalVisionVectors and E+)
Teaching Profession Teacher Salaries Are Increasing. See How Your State Compares
The National Education Association warns that some of the progress in teacher pay could be jeopardized by the pandemic.
2 min read
Teacher Salary Rankings 04262021 943331302
iStock/Getty Images Plus