Lessons of Another Kind

© Leslie Owen Wilson

Teachers must also be willing learners. This poem is a reminder that teachers still have a great deal to learn.

I came to teach,

To see what I could find

Inside my students’ deeper selves.

 

I came to try and open minds

Before they were seamed shut.

I came to channel passages,

Hoping to connect hearts to heads

And hands.

 

I came to entreat,

To coax ennobled thoughts,

Ideals, and love of self and others.

I thought that this must come from inside out

Into the essence of their beings,

Into relationships,

As connections to words and deeds,

And pedagogic styles.

 

I came to probe,

And sometimes poke,

To make them think,

And laugh

At small and narrowed views.

For I wanted them to see,

With their own eyes,

Beyond the limitations of closed perceptions

Into the beauty and the pain of others’ views.

 

I came to teach,

But learned instead

That they had just as much

To say to me.

Their lessons were often raw,

Sometimes unformed and yet complex.

 

I came to give and yet was given.

For through their gifts I saw anew

That I must learn to guard against complacency, conclusions,

And the allure of too soon ends.

 

I came to grow,

Unknowingly

To shed my false, new scholar’s skin

And metamorphose

Into to something new

And strange –

Something far beyond the shadows of my old instructive self.

 

I came to teach but was changed in other ways,

And now remember that life is still a two way street.

These were lessons

I needed to commit to memory, again.

 

Perhaps it is enough to say, I came to teach but learned instead.

© Leslie Owen Wilson – all rights reserved

Back to poetry index