In honor of "Teacher Appreciation Month", I would like to express my gratitude for the many amazing teachers, colleagues, and students in my life (past and present). In case no one tells you tomorrow, or the day after, THANK YOU for ALL that you do, every day.
I am not a teacher.
I am a judge; an auctioneer; a comedian.
I am a banker. And a chef. And a doctor. All by nine am.
I am a stealer of time; a slayer of falsehoods; I am a voice in their heads.
I am not a teacher; I am a shield.
A steady hand in a lockdown drill.
I make them feel safe in a world that is never so. I surround, like a calm in the night; like velvet to a sacred scroll.
I am not a teacher; I am a chorus, and a circus, and a magician.
I make stars from paper and grit from hands and diplomas from brick walls.
I bring life to rainy mornings and Pythagorean Theorems. I tell them to lift their heads, dry their eyes, and then I show them why the leaves change.
I am not a teacher; I am a madman.
I turn rage into sonnets; reservation to center stage.
I step into wars; flying fists, lost innocence, and scars. I take the bullet; every hit, all the blame, and then I return in the morning.
I am not a teacher; I am a mother.
I hold band aids to bloodied knees, and hands across the street. I feed and I clothe and I protect, with all of me, every day.
I dream in sloppy cursive and college rule. I extrapolate and interrogate and allocate, and when they curse me for it I remain. In their corner always.
I am not a teacher; I am a limb.
I am a shoulder, and a locked knee, and a heart that bleeds and bleeds.
I am an ear to greet their wounds; a backbone on a playground, and a brain on a whiteboard on three hours' sleep.
I am not a teacher; I am a rock star, and a jester, and a broken record.
I show them lines on paper and in hallways, and then I tell them to never stay inside.
I am an torch, and an umbrella, and a first line.
I am a nag, and a punching bag, and a friend.
I am intelligent and intrusive and inadequate. I am the least revered and the highest of stakes.
I am determined and ill-prepared and willing, but I am not a teacher, because what I do cannot be held in a word, or a book, or a classroom.
I am the work that spans lifetimes.
I am the love that waits with a smile,
who cries when they leave me single file.
I am not a teacher.
I am everything, and everyone else.