Part 1: Metaphor to My Simile
I sat on the floor
pen and paper in hand
contemplating what I would try to get you all to understand,
yet I’m not sure any man or woman
could stand in my place and say it with elegance and grace
what need to be articulated to my class 1A.
Last Thursday when I broke the news
of the due date when I wouldn’t be in this class,
many of my scholars interpreted my absence
as neglect and abandonment.
Many of them might have even seen it as some form of punishment
thinking I want to be away or stay away
and some even think my absence is some kind of get away.
I’m glad you all asked me . . . or pushed me to write
these lines with or without rhyme
because now is the time to tell you all what’s on my mind.
Ahem . . .
I don’t like missing any 2nd of any class
and before you all pass me by 1 more time in the hallway,
lend me your ear at level 0 so you can hear what I have to say.
Let’s count it off.
One, I don’t like missing because I’m not sure everyone will honor you like I do.
Two, I’m not sure any sub will treat you like royalty like I see you.
Three, I have a passion for being with you and that’s just the reality.
Four, absent or tardy, when you come through that door
and when everyone is accounted for,
then and only then do I feel like we can move with achievement, success, and yes, even more.
Five, one of my number one reasons for being alive is to serve you with hope and challenges,
push back and applauses.
You need me like I need you so it sounds like we are all a bunch of dependent clauses.
Six, you all are like a metaphor to my simile
and this is no hyperbole.
I have no reason to exaggerate.
Each and every day I really like to see ya
even with your steady ups and downs, making groans and noises like onomatopoeia.
Seven, I recognize that you are a teen and some want to be heard and some don’t even want to be seen and that’s cool because
Eight, 8th grade has so many personalities and that’s why I have to give you “All of Me” so
Nine, please give me all of you
even when you’re mad at my absences and perfect imperfections,
all of my uncontrollable circumstances.
You all please listen to my advances when I say
Ten, I don’t fret when it’s you without me because “I can see clearly now the rain is gone.”
The 7th grade leftovers of you are done.
Whatever was . . . is dead and dry.
You are in 8th grade and your maturity is showing and that’s no lie.
Eleven, that’s why when I can’t be here, I prep you for us being apart, but I have no fears.
Scholars in 8th grade are some of the most mature scholars I’ve seen in years.
Twelve, I don’t tell you where to sit, but I keep you where you are.
If you are successful and it shows,
why would I move you around and knock you down like dominoes which leads me to
Thirteen, the superstitious number of luck.
I’m glad we gave that theory up.
You all aren’t lucky.
Your intentionality to be scholarly removes all luck.
You’re just ready to be trusted, sub or me, you all are the real treasures.
I’m just honored to be your teacher because
Fourteen, it’s a real pleasure.
Fifteen, so whether you applaud or not at the end of these lines,
I clap for you every day in my heart because I know where we’ve been
which means for me every day is a new start.
Part 2: No Snaps
I know that I make my 1A harass me
when I don’t show up for class consistently
so they think have permission to pass me
and label me insufficient with truancy
even though I can’t help all of the scheduling.
Sometimes the emails come in the evening
when you’re at home chilling and watching TV.
But oh, they don’t know about a teacher’s life
and how I’m always here to almost 7 at night
making copies and writing on white boards with the janitors, right
because I want the best for them and their lives.
I look in their eyes and all I can see is Fight! Fight! Fight!
No, not the kind with fists, but with words, right?
Talking symbols and propaganda til the bell rings
and feeling each word just like a bee sting.
These kids get deep like a switchblade
and if you can’t hear their thoughts, you need a hearing aid.
These active listeners don’t know when to give it a rest
One person wants to share and then everyone is next.
I love this class because they think they’re the best
and if you tell them otherwise, you might get hit in your chest.
no, not with fists but with a debate or contest
They swear up and down the exit ticket was easy.
Make it seem like everything in here is breezy
and that’s cool because they love learning.
I think your scores are great.
I really do,
so if you ask me why there’s a pain in my heart,
it’s because I really don’t know you.
Some think a label like “Honor Roll” or Commended” or grades like 80’s or 90’s make you great
and yet I overhear you in the hallways
and I know some of the people you’ve hurt
and it makes me wonder if you think life is one big checkmate.
“Ms. Scott, where is this coming from?
This poem is supposed to be about you, not us.”
Thing is, I’ve told you a million times and I’ll say it again,
“I love you too much not to make a fuss”
So here it is. . .
Wherever 9th grade takes you,
decide to grow up and give up on
likes, tweets, thumbs up, and follows,
because just like an unnecessary end to a friendship,
all that is fake and will only leave your heart feeling hollow.
I’m trying to tell you,
you are the seed you plant.
You are the seed you put in the ground.
It’s okay and it’s right to grow up
and let negative, sneaky friends find someone else to be around.
This class, you’re too mature for me to turn the other cheek against the drama you create in your own life.
If you’re breathing, you were born,
and if you were born, you were born into a family,
and that right there has enough strife.
I want you to grow up and not follow the propaganda of bullying
under the hidden masks of likes or dislikes
like all that mess is right
you sittin’ up all night
thinking about your new followers
like it’s civil like a movement, right?
I want you to be civil,
way more than I want you to be right.
Give UP your right to be right
and instead fight for someone else’s.
You want some REAL likes and follows
stop being so hollow.
Shallow minds talk about people.
Great minds help them.
Who will you be?
This might, for your listening ears,
be my last poetry piece
and I’m okay with no snaps.
I’m okay with no applauses
because in the end, I’m after your character
and everything else is just white noises.
Anita is also part of Ambassadors Alliance International, a passionate team of people who go into impoverished areas to assess their needs and provide help in the form of food, medical supplies, clothing, education, and job-training that will lead to self-sustainable change.