Another Teacher Falls

I love the teachers that teach,

The teachers that write in scrawling letters that

Dance around the whiteboard with colors clashing.

A fanciful symphony, behind their eyes a fire where most have ice

The burning blaze that melts the fear away, they say,

“You are important. You matter. I promise.”

 

They write the words you need to hear in every way you need to hear it,

And behind me, they whisper, "Why? Why write something so

Beautiful,

Colorful,

Fanciful,

Free...

In black 12 pt Times New Roman?"

 

My document open, the white page, cursor blinking,

Mind racing, I’m thinking my words don’t matter any other way

 

I love, I cherish, I fear for the teachers who say,

"Grades don’t matter, I teach for you to learn."

I learn. I learn every day. I learn grades matter,

Because the only way to prove your worth

Is to show the insignificant letters in red ink on white paper you earn,

And every heartbeat too fast in the exam room teaches me

That the teachers that want you to learn are oblivious farmers

Raising pigs for the slaughter,

 

My teacher talks about her daughter, who died in a hospital room just last week,

Her father, crying by the bedside. She weeps.

"You are all my children. Somewhere in you, there is a fire.

I will stoke it, make it burn until the blazes go no higher,

Burn this wretched world to the ground and build a new one

 

She falls to the floor

The principal walks through the door, we have a substitute the next day.

She says our teacher will be spending some time away

In the meantime, we have nothing to say

 

Our substitute teacher writes in tiny black letters

She says education is a tool that betters our minds,

Readies us for real life, as if the first eighteen years are a trial.

I think she's in denial, watching as the clock ticks faster, asks us to dial back

When we demand to know how our teacher is faring.

 

Her daughter took her life one month prior,

I imagine her heart was a fire, doused by months of hidden torment,

It went out, no blaze of glory, no shining star in the heavens bears her name.

She was not an angel going home, nor a rose picked for its beauty,

She was a warm heart and a steady mind, quick wit, sunlight on a cool autumn day

When sunset comes far too soon, before we can tell the sun how much we cherish it.

 

Our teacher is back in two months, she's not the same,

And the first time she speaks, voice weak, mind decayed,
She tells us, "Children, study hard, this test is worth ten percent of your grade."
She never teaches us again.

 

This poem is about: 
My community
Guide that inspired this poem: 

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