Poems about Teaching and Teachers, Poetry Foundation

wearing rings to learn piano

Poems about Teaching and Teachers

Robert Frost once said, “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” These poems and essays tackle the pleasures and perils of rousing knowledge inside and outside of the classroom. Students will recognize their schoolteachers and professors among the incisive portraits, and teachers will find serious and funny poems on the ups and downs of the trade that verges on vocation.

Students, I can’t lie, I’d rather be doing something else, I guess
Like making love or writing a poem
Or drinking wine on a tropical island

My encouragement makes him skittish—
it doesn’t suit his jubilant histrionics
of despair.

such things are said to be
Good for you, and you will have to learn them
In order to become one of the grown-ups
Who sees invisible things neither steadily nor whole

I’m not given much, these tired students,
Knuckle-wrapped from work as roofers,
Sour from scrubbing toilets and pedestal sinks.

Because, like me, they’re traveling headlong
in that familiar, vertical direction

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