Thursday, August 17, 2006

Poetry about teachers

The topic of the teacher has also been the focus of many poems. Douglas Florian’s “My Monster” poem from BING BANG BOING is one of my favorite “teacher” poems, one that requires a sense of humor on the part of teachers. Another poem, “But I Have Mr. Cratzbarg“ by Kalli Dakos found in DON'T READ THIS BOOK, WHATEVER YOU DO! is a lovely tribute to that special teacher. I’ve used the poem below many times at teacher workshops, inviting the participants to join in on the line "Mrs. Fuller does.” It’s from a small collection of wry poems from the teacher’s point of view entitled HIDE YOUR EX-LAX UNDER THE WHEATIES by Cheryl Miller Thurston (Cottonwood Press, CO).

Miss Lee and Mrs. Fuller
by Cheryl Miller Thurston

Miss Lee's rows are straight
and her cabinets are dusted.
Her blotter is fresh
and her shades are adjusted.
She always has staples
and Elmer's and tissues.
She never misplaces
a pass that she issues.

Mrs. Fuller does.

Miss Lee's books have covers;
she hasn't lost any.
Her milk money forms
come out right to the penny.
Her class in assemblies
is quite in control.
She never miscounts
or forgets to take roll.

Mrs. Fuller does.

Miss Lee has a gradebook that's neat,
not a smear.
Her lesson plan book
is complete for the year.
Her duties for playground
or lunch never tire her.
She never has principals
trying to fire her.

Mrs. Fuller does.

Miss Lee sees no value
in things that don't fit.
Her warmest remarks
run to "Quiet" and "Sit."
She never sparks passion,
excitement or dreams-
She never sees minds that are
bursting their seams.

Mrs. Fuller does.

OK, so it’s a little bit corny, but I agree with the focus on children over protocol, particularly in this test-driven age. Teachers who put children first are worth celebrating in poetry!


Anonymous said...

This poem was inspiring to me as a new teacher of middle school students. I'm afraid I will forget to take attendance because I'll be too busy trying to help kids learn. jlb

Sylvia Vardell said...

Hang on to that attitude. And keep poems like this handy to remind you about what's important. And share fun poems with your students, too!

Kathryn said...

I am very much like Ms. Fuller. When I taught my classroom was clean and pretty much in order although it looked like the students had been active throughout the classroom. One of my good friends taught next door to my class during my first three years. Her room was always extremely organized and neat. I made a comment about her neatness one day to a fellow teacher who pointed out that my good friend seldom allowed her students out of their seats while I, on the other hand, often had engaged students all around the room using the computer, reading in the Library Center, completing manipulative math games, writing in the Writing Center, etc.

I felt better about my classroom looking "used" after my friend made that remark. I think you can generally tell who the Ms. Fullers are. I am going to share this poem during a faculty meeting.