A Mantra

I walk into the meeting.

I am a good teacher.

I listen to the talk of test scores.

I am a good teacher.

I try to keep my mouth shut.

I am a good teacher.

They try to blame my students for circumstances beyond their control, and suddenly my mouth isn’t shut anymore.

I am a good teacher.

New mandates. New demands. Prove you’re not a bad teacher.

I am a good teacher.

More looking over the shoulder. More paperwork. More justification for the way I teach.

I am a good teacher.

Listening to talk of widgets not children. High test scores at all costs. No discussion of poverty. Of learning a new language. Of mothers who used drugs and fathers not allowed to see children and how the utilities got cut off.

I am a good teacher.

No mention of the hugs. The smiles. The “you are the best teacher” pictures. No interest in read-alouds or child-centered learning.

I am a good teacher.

The meeting is over. I leave. Back to my kids, not widgets. Back to loose teeth and scabbed knees and real, live, bouncy, wiggly, curious children. Children.

I am a good teacher.

These children know it.

But the people who control my job don’t.

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4 thoughts on “A Mantra

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