Poems on teaching and learning – There is an immense power inherent in caring teachers as they foter and nurture the development of children pursuing dreams
The old woman artist, mother of my mother, sat still
beside a window in her studio.
Looking out into the world beyond,
she spoke to me in a soft, familiar hush like rustled grass.
And in a litany borne of age and wisdom said ‑‑ as if to the air,
the heavens and the shadows:
“Luckily, I had some teachers
who changed my life.
They saw in me a child of wonder
and of promise.
For at that time of beginnings, it was an image
I had pushed far away from myself.
With gentleness and kindness
they took me by my hand, and heart, and mind
and led me through great doors
too large for small children to open.
They knew, beyond these doors, I would glimpse
the image of my true self.
There would be my destiny and the future visions
of my imaginings.
Through those portals of splendor,
I met the flurried magic of art and music and
the rhythmed words of ancients.
There were such patterns, sounds and sights
that struck me all but dumb in their resplendence.
And in those special places were the surprises and
connections to my inner self.
Through the efforts of those dedicated few
I entered new worlds of wonder and achievement,
to find at last my soul’s own voice.
It was they who let me look upon their magic mirrors,
thus finding the vision of my special face.”
Then she turned to me, smiling
and pointing to her still wet wares,
and the children of her imagination, said:
“All of this has been possible because of them.
My child, remember well,
for you have chosen a profession
that has great power.
Learn to use that power well.”
I don’t think many teachers realize they are “keepers of the future” and so people with great power. This poem was written to help teachers realize the effects they can have on students’ futures.
All teachers affect the future to some extent, whether positively or negatively. Real “keepers” are intentionally aware of this power and focus on how they will affect children’s’ abilities to live, work, grow, and flourish in a time to come. LW
©Leslie Owen Wilson, 1994, all rights reserved (originally published in Every child, whole child)
Potter photo by James DeMers on Pixabay