Sunday, June 23, 2013

And Still I Teach (adapted from "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou)

By Sue Doherty
Originally posted in the BTA 

You may paint me as a union thug
who’s nothing but a leech.
You may say I’m dumb and greedy
but still, with love, I’ll teach.

Does my experience upset you? 
Why are you filled with such hate?
‘Cause I don’t need your manuals
to hook students with canned bait?

Just like Socrates and Montessori,
with the certainty of each,
just like Annie Sullivan, with passion,
still I’ll teach.

Do you want to see me standardized?
Head bowed, voice monotone,
following a corporate script of
knowledge stripped to the bone?

Does my individuality offend you?
Don’t you let it get you down, 
‘cause I teach like H.D. Thoreau’s
residing in my crown. 

You may smear me with your media lies,
you may displace me with your foundation’s reach,
you may diminish my voice with your money piles,
but still, with truth, I’ll teach. 

Does my honesty upset you?
Does it dismay you to know
that I’m a thinking human being
who sees through your selfish show?

In neglected and isolated country schools,
I teach.
In leafy and high pressure suburban schools,
I teach.
In overcrowded and decaying city schools, 
I teach.

I’m a wise ocean
in tune with the sun,
ready to save my students
from a tornado or a gun.

Straining under constantly changing mandates and high stakes tests,
I teach.
Stepping into my classroom where youthful energy never rests,
I teach
Knowing that learning is messy and social and sometimes wild,
in my room, I’m the guide and mentor for every child.
I teach,
I teach,
I teach.

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