My Assignment is Late

God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. (Isaiah 50:4a)

I always write for “teachers’ appreciation week”
and this was certainly a year
when being a teacher was dangerous,
required acrobatic flexibility,
and was exposed to more-than-every-year
unwarranted parental verbal abuse.

But this year my assignment is late,
because every word I write
transforms into hours of memories
of particular teachers,
the odd and motley crew
that changed my life …

Her husband died by suicide
but a teacher came back to school,
not needing to teach history well,
because she taught us
how we could keep on going.

In seventh-grade geography
he kept us all afternoon long
till we could find our road through
a president’s assassination.

A Latin teacher
helped us love something ‘useless’
when we hankered after Fortran.

Another didn’t teach anything
that I wanted to study,
but volunteered to be the debate coach
so I could get out of town
for weekend tournaments
and no one knew I had no dates.

A PE teacher in grade school
helped me accept those thick glasses,
and laugh at clumsiness
of early height and weight

and a musician has first chair in heaven
just because he sat in a room
with me and a violin.

To set the record straight,
I was never tardy, my exams were solid,
my assignments were rarely late
and rarely brilliant –

not much reason to notice me
but, every time I was weary,
or lost or didn’t want to go home,

someone was there to speak the word
that reminded me
how very valuable I am.

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6 Responses to My Assignment is Late

  1. Yes, bravo for those who have taught not only during these precarious times but those who in spite of everything, mentored us through life.

  2. beegood1 says:

    Thank God for teachers ❤️

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Oh gosh…now you’re making me think of my recently deceased high school history teacher, speech and debate coach, and friend–someone who helped cultivate my love of history, politics, and more, while learning some valuable life lessons along the way.

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