Sunday, April 23, 2017

Teachers are Waterfalls

After an 8-hour weekend review session for AP exams yesterday, I left my classroom thankful for students who are willing to work hard. 

Unfortunately, I am also saddened that some of them will not earn a score high enough to get college credit for their efforts, even though they have undergone a commendable amount of exertion. 

I wrote this poem in hopes that my students and other teachers know that our strife and efforts can never be fully illustrated by the results from a single standardized test.

Photo courtesy of fellow waterfall, Rob. F,
chemistry teacher

Teachers are Waterfalls
I am waterfall where streams of knowledge merge and flow 
over the ledge of my presence to the surface below.

Beneath, beautiful pebbles, my pupils, get smoothed 
and through my passionate plans ignorance is removed.

Each unique rock, coming from its own time and place receives 
the same energy, care, and perseverance from me.

But, some are softer- easier to round, polish, and grow 
while others have become brittle and hardened by past sorrow.

Picture courtesy of fellow waterfall,
Tammy Q., high school literature teacher 
Test scores create data and graphs, but data doesn't show half
of the stress on my beautiful pebbles at this point in their path.

I increase my pressure in hopes that if more water pounds down
success will come to all, but too many struggle and drown.

Their faces, full of wonder and curiosity, are reduced
to numbers for appeasing demanding politicians who are sadly aloof.

As baseless performance demands continue to rain down from above
turbulent currents crash on young minds without patience or love.

Photo courtesy of fellow waterfall,
Stephanie K., preschool teacher

When my year closes and my efforts approach their pinnacle
novice pebbles being judged by shaded circles makes me so cynical.

How is that mere letters- A, B, C, D, and E- can suffice
to demonstrate a real understanding of what is important in life?

What they learned while rolling and tumbling through my course
being reduced to a single test causes me unfathomable remorse.

Still, I remain hopeful as summer approaches and my movement slows;
my pebbles depart for the next waterfall to which they're bestowed.

Photo courtesy of fellow waterfall,
 Lori K., healthcare teacher

Thank you, fellow waterfalls, for the smiles, hugs, treats, and hard work you have given to your students during testing. 

You have the power to bring humanity and tenderness when so many of our babies struggle to prove themselves. But always remember: you can't pour from an empty cup. 

Photo courtesy of Dondra W.


  1. Desiree4/23/2017

    Well, that caused me to get a little misty ��. I wonder what it will take to change the system?
    Good luck in your tests!

  2. I don't know what it will take- perhaps a reduction of profit from making the tests :( Thank you for reading!

  3. This makes me even more grateful that my son has been lucky enough to have you for a teacher! Thank you for caring !

    1. He has been a pleasure to know and teach. You have done well, mom!