Note: This is not my poem. It was included in the PowerPoint presentation of Former Education Secretary Fe A. Hidalgo when she spent an hour with us. Gian and Loreen, two of my co-fellows, were witnesses how my eyes went teary-eyed. This poem gave me a nostalgic feeling, something about my students and my last day with them as their teacher.
Here’s one great poem.
I didn’t know that years of school and a college degree would be of little
consolation when facing a room full of bright little eyes on the
first day of school. I thought I was ready…
I didn’t know that five minutes can seem like five hours when there is
idle time and an eight hour school day far too short for a
well-planned day of teaching.
I didn’t know that teaching children was only a fraction of my job.
No one tells you about the conferences and phone calls, faculty meetings, committees, paperwork and paperwork…
I didn’t know that it took so long to cut out letters, draw and color pictures,
laminate-all for those bulletin boards that were always “just there”…
I didn’t know that I would become such a scavenger, and that teaching
materials would feel like pure gold in my hands…
I didn’t know that an administration and co-workers that support
and help you could make such a difference…
I didn’t know that there would be children that I loved and cared for
and stayed up late worrying about, who, one day,
would simply not show up.
And that I would never see them again…
I didn’t know that I can’t always dry little tears and mend broken hearts.
I thought I could always make a difference…
I didn’t know that the sound of children’s laughter could drown
out the sound of all the world’s sadness…
I didn’t know that children could feel so profoundly.
A broken heart knows no age.
I didn’t know that a single “yes ma’am” from a disrespectful child
or a note in my desk that says “You’re the best!” could make me feel like
I’m on top of a mountain and forget the valleys I forged to get there…
I never knew that after one year of teaching I would feel so much
wiser, more tired, sadder and happier, all at once.
And that I would no longer call teaching my job,
but my privilege.