To the Editor:
I don’t have a star on the illustrious Hollywood Walk of Fame; I don’t have a reality show so that everyone knows my name./ I don’t have a prestigious award like an Emmy, Oscar, or Grammy. I don’t have notoriety for doing something slimy./ I am only a teacher who genuinely cares about children and looks out for their welfare. I am only a teacher who believes in public education and that it needs its fair share./ I am only a teacher, whose profession is being undermined, and that’s a crying shame. I am only a teacher, who has decided it’s time to stand up to bullying and displaced blame.
I am only a teacher, who’s sick and tired of the drivel politicians have spewed. I am only a teacher, who has had enough of politicians who are senseless and rude./ I am only a teacher, who’s sick of the ulterior motives of politicians and has had enough of their personal agendas and ambitions./ I am only a teacher, who’s well-educated and has earned diplomas and degrees through much hard work. I am only a teacher, whose salary has been meager, but who could at least depend on a pension perk./ I am only a teacher, who has jumped through hoops and taught children against all odds. I am only a teacher, who’s not asking for more than a bit of respect and some positive nods.
I am only a teacher, who has cared enough about kids to stick around even when times got tough. I am only a teacher, who’s in a state of despair and thinks that enough is more than enough./ I am only a teacher, whose heart is breaking as politicians make self-serving decisions. I am only a teacher, who has had it with unfounded, egomaniacal babble and visions./ I don’t have dreams about striking it rich in this profession once known as teaching. I don’t have to and won’t apologize for saying, “Isn’t it time for some impeaching?”/ I don’t have to be a victim and simply take the abuse that this system is shoveling out, and I do believe the big business of corruption is what slick, new legislative moves are about.
I am only a teacher.
The writer is a 2nd grade co-teacher at Palm Springs Elementary School in Hialeah, Fla.
A version of this article appeared in the April 27, 2011 edition of Education Week as ‘I Am Only a Teacher ...': A Poem for Teacher Critics