Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Week

This is Teacher Appreciation Week and, if you'd like some ideas about what to do for or give to a teacher, check out
Some ideas to get you started: lottery scratch cards, cinema/theatre tickets, gift vouchers, book vouchers, books with happiness or thank you quotes, perhaps even my book "It's a Teacher's Life...!", which is an amusing collection of 20 anecdotal poems based on my experiences as a teacher. If you're giving a book, I think it's nice to give something that teachers can dip in and out of quickly, which will make them smile or give them a quick pick-me-up. Feel free to add your own ideas!
And as it is Teacher Appreciation Week, I thought I'd post a poem from my book as a tribute to all teachers everywhere.

The Lessons

9 a.m.,
the first lesson bell rings,
all still in assembly,
again Mr. Smith droning on;
the teachers groan -
bang goes that test...
Well, it's a lesson off the cuff now,
nothing new,
it's happened often enough.

The girls drift in to lessons,
it's ten minutes past,
the teacher hands out sheets
fast, fast, fast,
explains at breakneck speed
what to do;
then the first hand goes up,
'Can I go to the loo?'
Another hand is raised,
'Will we get our homework back today?'
'No, get on with your work, Fay.'
A third hand shows,
'Will we get it back tomorrow?'
'I don't know.'
A fourth hand shoots up,
'Will we get it back by the end of the week?'
Who's that? Susan?
But she's normally so meek...
'When will we get our homework back?'
'When I've had time to mark it –
and that's that!'
The bell goes, everyone packs up.
So much for that lesson -
thanks, Mr. Smith,
thanks a million!

The third lesson,
after break,
hair and uniform now a mess,
the pupils enter the classroom
and the teacher starts to sigh:
'Tie your hair back',
'Do your shoelaces up',
'Pull your socks up',
'Do your cuffs up',
'Do your top button up',
'Roll down your skirt!
Whom are you trying to impress?'
The pupils meander to their seats,
fish out their books.
It's Year 9 Maths, Division 3 -
What joy! the teacher thinks.
Now, let's see...
A simple sum to start,
'What's 3 x 6?'
A hand flies up,
the answer's easy of course -
The teacher tries once more
to explain multiplication:
'What about 4 x 4...?'

Down the corridor Year 7,
wrestling hard with Geography,
'Where's Cornwall?' the teacher asks.
'In Wales', a pupil replies.
The teacher sighs
and tries once more.
'The water separating France from England?'
'The Atlantic,' someone shouts.
'No, it's not, it's the Pacific.'
Wow, what a lesson this is,
it's just terrific!

Some Gallic greetings
waft through the air,
it's Year 8 French
performing role plays with flair -
at least that's what they think
and the teacher doesn't really care!
Yet slowly their enthusiasm
wins him around,
piques his interest -
what's that he's found?
A pupil with a promising accent!
What a coup!
And then the mediocrity starts again:
'Est-ce que je peux the toilet,
Monsieur Jones?'
'Aux toilettes, Poppy, aux toilettes!'
'Oui, est-ce que je peux aller aux toilettes?'
, Poppy, vite!'
'Et sick bay, Monsieur? J'ai...headache',
The teacher sighs and tries again,
something always driving him on....
The desire to inspire,
to light the fire
that burns within,
the 'aha' in the expression
when something clicks -
that's the reward
for hours and hours of work
and patience,
a reward of infinite measure,
a priceless, unlimited treasure.

Copyright © 2008 Helena Harper

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