When I Become A Teacher

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When I become a teacher 

I'll put a map of the world on every wall in my classroom 

My students will always know to have a universal mindset 

When they hear freedom, they'll think of more than spirituals and Emancipation

They'll remember the stinking pits at Babi Yar

The curled steel at Auchwitz

Sarajevo’s rifle butts

Cambodia’s grit and sweat and death

These classroom walls will not fence their minds.

Eyes will be opened. Again.

Instead of asking my students to adjust to my teaching style 

Fawn in silent awe over my genius

I'll ask them how they learn

Then tend to the visual 


and tactile learners  

the best way I can 

They’ll never doubt their place in my plan,

Confuse our classroom for a cookie-cutter

Stage where they must sit on their hands.

I’ll take criticism.

Gather it like gold dust between my fingers.

Never satisfied, I’ll Practice my practice forever.


My classroom will be painted bright blues and yellows

Along with students drawings, murals and poetry

Displays of Me Magazines 

And word walls

Scenes from books acted out 

Role playing 

and Mock trials 

I will appreciate their creativity 


I will teach my students inquiry 

Ask them questions about the world around them 

Their opinions on issues from health care to the Palestine Wall

I won't talk at them, but with them 

We'll have discussions and debates 

I will challenge them 

Ask them how they would tackle issues like budgets cuts 

Low reading levels 

And school safety 

I'll ask them how they feel about Pennsylvania finding money to build 3 more prisons but cutting funding from schools 

Or how they feel about districts paying millions for standardized test and curriculum but not having enough for extra curricular activities 

They will be informed 

My students will be poets






All while being beautiful 

Everyday I will tell them they're beautiful