Posted in Poetry, Tabletop Poetry (and Other Artforms)

30 in 30 Day 14: Things They Don’t Tell You in Teacher Training

Things They Don’t Tell You in Teacher Training

for Ian, Jeremiah, and Ezequiel

They don’t tell you
that playground altercations
will include such topics as
whether boys can shout
“no girls allowed”
on the bouncy car,
pushing too hard
on the swing set
and who gets to be
a cheetah lizard.
(and for that matter,
they do not tell you
what cheetah lizards are.)

They do not tell you
that seven year olds
can act as mature
as seventeen year olds
especially when you bribe them
with bubble gum.

Or that seventeen year olds
can act as mature
as seven year olds
especially when
you ask them
to put away their phones.

They don’t tell you
that high school students
can’t read clocks either.
Or write in cursive.
Though they do know how
to tie their shoes.

They don’t tell you
that kindergartners
also swear.
Or that they use swear words
in proper context.

They don’t tell you
that ninth graders
like band-aids just as much
as first graders
but they are less responsible
about where they put stickers.

They don’t tell you
how to teach consent.
They don’t warn you
about the boys who will try
to touch female students
even after the girls have said no.
They don’t prepare you
for the crying kindergartner
who just had a boy
pinch her bottom.

They don’t tell you
where to draw the line
on student-teacher confidentiality.
They don’t tell you
whether you should report
remarks from students
of teachers’ favoritism
on the basis of gender
or race.

They don’t recommend
that you open up
about your own problems
with depression.
They don’t tell you
how your students
may find inspiration
in the fact that you are alive.

They don’t tell you
to buy a black dress
or to learn how to say
“I’m sorry for your loss”
in Spanish.
Because you never know
when you might need these things.

They don’t remind you
that trouble comes in threes
and each time it will hurt more
than the last.

They don’t warn you
that guns can hurt
a student body
even when they are not fired
on school property.

They don’t tell you
just how complicated
diabetes can get,

They don’t tell you
that you can feel
the full weight
of a car crash
from another town.

They don’t tell you
that if it’s your student
you may find out
via text message.

They don’t describe
the way the air grows heavy
the next day
as soon as the bell rings.
Or just how empty
his chair will look.

They don’t tell you
that you are also
allowed to cry.

Author:

I am a poet, linguist, and ESL teacher who loves to play games.

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