Friday, May 18, 2007

POETRY FRIDAY: A Tribute to Teachers

Yesterday, I attended a retirement party for three outstanding teachers with whom I had the pleasure of working for many years. Each one of these educators is the epitome of what an elementary classroom teacher should be: professional, intelligent, knowledgeable, well-read, caring, kind, patient, and always happy to share her time, expertise, and educational materials with younger colleagues who needed guidance, advice, support, and encouragement.

I had the great fortune to teach in a school where my co-workers were consummate professionals. I know this not only as a teacher who worked in the same building with these remarkable educators—but also as a parent whose only child attended the school. My daughter was well taught and her world enriched and expanded by her educational experience at this institution where I spent my teaching career.

The classroom teachers, the gym, music, and art teachers, the school librarian, the resource room teachers, the school secretary and nurse, and all the paraprofessionals and support staff—everyone at my school was topnotch. I loved working with all these people and have missed every one of them since my retirement in June of 2004. (I do stop by every now and then to do poetry-writing exercises in some classrooms.)

About a decade ago, I wrote a poem entitled Here Is Her Room for Bonnie, one of our first grade teachers who was retiring. I thought I would post the poem here today in honor of my three other colleagues who were feted yesterday during a gala party at which we celebrated their educational contributions to the Bell School and to its young students.

My poem today is for Leslie, Phyllis, and Kathy—and for all public school educators who are dedicated to their profession and to the children they teach.

Here Is Her Room
by Elaine Magliaro

Here is her room—
dark and dusty,
bare of bright pictures,
plastic bins empty
of thick primary pencils
and silver-scaled scissors,
its cardboard alphabet
hidden in a dim cupboard.
The painted whales
have swum away for summer.

Here is her room—
hollow and lonely,
its door shut tight
on uncounted memories.
Turn the brass knob
and enter softly.
Listen to the echoes
of downy chicks
cheeping in a corner,
merry young Pilgrims
celebrating the first Thanksgiving,
children singing songs
and reciting well-loved poems,
the snip of busy scissors
cutting colored paper
for a winter collage.

Here is her room—
four walls holding a happy history,
a world of words and wonder
she opened to boys and girls
before she gave them


Stop by Wild Rose Reader today for The Poetry of Mary Ann Hoberman.


Kelly said...

Beautiful, Elaine!!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, Kelly! I was truly fortunate to work with such an outstanding group of people. It was great to see so many of them yesterday...and to pay tribute to three exemplary elementary classroom teachers

Vivian Mahoney said...

Yay for great teachers! We would truly be lost without them.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

What a lovely tribute! Best retirement wishes to your friends.

Mary Lee said...

I know this tribute was written for your friends, but it seems like a good time to thank you for championing all teachers! It's good to be appreciated!

Elaine Magliaro said...

I agree that we would be lost without great teachers. I have seen the miracles that some of them perform. Too often public school teachers and public schools receive the scorn and condemnation of the press...and many citizens. Little do they know the challenges teachers face today. It is sad that teachers are all too often defined by the bad apples in the barrel rather than those who work quietly and diligently to teach and enrich our children.

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Yasha said...

Itz such a great poem..I loved it...