Poetry Corner — Poems about teaching and learning

Contact Leslie

Okay you caught me, I confess I am a sometimes closet poet. Here are links to some humble offerings of personal poems about teaching and learning, about the power of educators,  and about the wisdom of children.  Most of these had emotional triggers either through first hand experiences or through the stories of others and thus have become topics I feel passionate about – – the unfairness of unequal funding; the importance of teachers being learners; the immense power of teachers in the lives of children; the importance of daydreaming, the effects of violence on children, etc.
*Beyond personal use, please do not reprint these for distribution without explicit permission. Thanks. L.W.scroll and quill
Another link for poetry on teachers and students, check out the The Poetry Foundation has a wonderful array of poems about teachers and teaching.


Poems by Leslie

  • Dressings –  One of the harsh realities of being educated in the US is that schools receive unequal funding. This poem addresses what that feels like from a child’s viewpoint. 

I thought my schooling should be seamless

And made of rich brocade. . . .

  • My Soul’s Own Voice  – A poem about the power of teachers to support children as they endeavor to find what moves them and speaks to their souls.

The old woman artist, mother of my mother, sat still

beside a window in her studio. . . .

  • The Unitary Child – In the West often we tend to look at the parts of things and not the whole. This offering is a reminder of the wholeness of children and their preciousness.

I am a unitary child

Not made of separate parts. . . .

  • Lessons of Another Kind – Teachers must also be willing learners. This poem is a reminder that teachers still have a great deal to learn and sometimes students are great teachers. 

I came to teach,

To see what I could find . . .

  • The Swirls – In schools we negate daydreaming as a useless pastime and definite sign of ill-attention. But what if what is going on in students’ daydreams is much more productive, imaginative and wonderful than what we are offering up as knowledge or education?

The swirls of my dreamlife

destabilize the politics of the schoolyard . . .

  •  Into the Bend of Interwoven Time – A Parable – It does not often occur to adults, especially teachers, that some children have a deep, internal wisdom that far exceeds their own. How often do we concretely and with detail relate the things we are teaching to students’ futures?

There was once a child who spoke and wondered of his tomorrows –

And beyond.

Incessantly he asked questions about the future –

  • One Finds Children . . . – Unfortunately some adults can contaminate the innocence of children. This poem recognizes those who survive those attempts at corruption.

Singing in the darkness

One finds children by the sweetness of their voices.

There are many paths that lead us as we muddle through the throng.

There are many roads to follow to avoid the one that’s wrong.


Poems by Others

  • The Reductive Sum Of One – by Gary Zarda – A poem about seeing students through the lenses of the Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

In my view

there are many rather than one. . . .