Previously: Two Verses for Teachers
O School Year! The School Year!
after Walt Whitman
O teachers! my teachers! your fearful year’s begun,
Your feet have weather’d every beach, but napping now is done,
The plans are made, the bells you hear, your students all complaining,
While sand still lingers in your bags, and summer sun is waning.
But O! desks! desks! desks!
O the clean and ordered rows
Where soon will perch the eager(ish) minds
To hear all that you know.
O students! our students! rise up and curse the alarm;
Rise up—for you the coffee’s brewed—for you the notes are waiting,
For you we’ve outlined many skills—for you we will assess them,
On you we’ll call when you least expect—for you we sleep so little;
Here students! dear students!
Those phones you always take!
We teachers can but only dream
That you dropped them in the lake.
O parents! our parents! your houses lie so still,
Your kids are someone else’s now, to teach and mold and drill,
We hope you made them read this year, though Fortnite owns their hours,
For it is books, we still believe, that lend our students power.
Drive them to school and pick up too,
And call us if you need,
But please don’t yell, and please don’t call
After nine o’ clock, we plead.
Abby Zwart (’13) teaches high school English in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She spends her free time making lists of books she should read, cooking, and managing the post calvin.