21 January 2015

The Teacher

By age fifty she had learned
to coordinate color—
and a good thing too—because
that’s when she started teaching
in an urban high school
among budding fashionistas
who delighted in under-
handed remarks and laughter
meant to cut her expect-
ations down to nonchallenging
sizes.  Oh, they were very
good at this sport, volleying
up to those who spiked the puck
the best and got it over
without fail, without effort,
without skipping a beat in
their text messaging.  And what
amazed her the most under
her black and blues was their cre-
ativity and their skill.
She couldn’t give up the quest
to steer those capacities
to new challenges instead
of the predictable ones. 
For their part, they didn’t un-
derstand why she didn’t just
deflate—or so they said—the ones
who came back to thank her.

Copyright © 2015 S.L.Chast


Brian Miller said...

this made me smile...teaching is no easy task...and part of it is figuring out the puzzle of what makes them think and work...I like her twisting their jibes into something useful....a good teacher I am sure...

I will get that color coordination thing down some day...ha...

Kay L. Davies said...

I love the last two verses, Susan, especially "the quest
to steer those capacities
to new challenges instead
of the predictable ones."

Brother Ollie said...

I'm a teacher. This is all too real! Authentic piece Susan.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Thank heavens for the ones who came back to thank her........some of them got the message!

Unknown said...

How well you captured the culture! Nicely done!

Robert Lloyd said...

I love the unwillingness to give in that runs throughout this poem. A rebellion in itself sort of. Well done.

Unknown said...

I should never be surprised by the work that springs from the Poets United poets - always refreshing and individual - never canned.

Hannah said...

Those 'experts' can be so harsh. You captured the scene and emotion of this so well, Susan. Thank you for the challenge!

Old Egg said...

Teaching must be a mixture of achievement and hope that something does stick; Never knowing whether the ones with so much potential did anything with their lives.

Grace said...

What a challenge to be a teacher ~ Some appreciate you and some don't but time does put everything in perspective doesn't it ~ I am glad that some have gone back to thank the teacher for the wisdom imparted ~ Thanks for the lovely prompt dear Susan ~ Hope you are well ~

totomai said...

there are still who are grateful and would come back in a heartbeat to give thanks to their teacher.
she, unknowingly, has inspired her fashionista class ;-)

annell4 said...

There is sweet insight here, too. I remember teachers who were ridiculed by students...I never did it, but I didn't do anything to stop it. I wish I had.

Gen Giggles said...

This is why a friend teaches in a school just for kids with behavior issues.

Gail said...

Youth can be cruel but good teachers do good things in spite of it all.

Anonymous said...

Nice one, Susan. I commend you for beings teacher.

Jae Rose said...

That is a sign of a good teacher...what a wonderful display of patience and wisdom..what learning is all about