I read Charlotte’s Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory every year, and every year when Charlie finds the golden ticket and Charlotte dies, I cry.
I take slivers out of fingers and bad sports out of steal the bacon. I know when a child has gum in his mouth even when he is not chewing. I have sung “Happy Birthday” 657 times.
I hand over scissors with the handles up. My copies of The Velveteen Rabbit and Treasure Island are falling apart. I can listen to one child talk about his birthday party and another talk about her sleepover and another talk about getting his stomach pumped last night – all at the same time.
I fix staplers that won’t staple and zippers that won’t zip, and I poke pins in the orange caps of glue bottles that will not pour. I had out papers and pencils and stickers and envelopes for newly pulled teeth. I know the difference between Austria and Australia.
I plan lessons while shaving, showering, driving, eating, and sleeping. I plan lessons five minutes before the bell rings. I know what time it is when the big hand is on the twelve and the little hand is on the nine. I say the r in library. I do not say the w in sword.
I put on Band-Aids and winter coats and school plays. I know they will not understand the difference between your and you’re. I know they will write towhen it should be too. I say “Cover your mouth,” after they have coughed on me.
I am a teacher.
I examine new braces and new blisters and holes in mouths where teeth have just fallen out. I can spell vacuum. I know the magic word.
I wear four-leaf clovers and dandelions in my shirt pocket that have just been picked with love at recess. I pray for snow days. I pray for Stephen to be absent.
I spend Thanksgiving vacation writing report cards, Christmas vacation cleaning my classroom, and summer vacation taking classes on how to relax. I know the difference between a comma and an apostrophe. I can say “apostrophe.”
I buy books about cats and dogs and sharks and volcanoes and horses and dinosaurs. I turn jump ropes and am base in tag. I am glad you can only get chicken pox once.
I correct pencil grips and spelling mistakes and bad manners. I push in chairs all the way, push swings higher, and push sleeves up while children are painting. I can touch the paper cutter.
I own one suit, two pairs of shoes, and eight boxes of graham crackers. I have every teacher mug that Hallmark ever made and every Save the Children tie too. I say, “Use two hands!” when they carry their lunch trays. I say, “Accidents happen,” after they did not use two hands.
I wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day, red on Valentine’s Day and my bathrobe on Pajama Day. I poke straws into juice boxes and untwist thermos lids that are too tight. I unpeel oranges that are too tight too.
I sign library passes and yearbooks and new casts. I attend soccer games and Little League championships and funerals for guinea pigs. I answer to both “Mom” and “Dad.”
I am a teacher.
I hope April Fool’s Day is on a Saturday. I blow up balloons that will not blow up. I always blow the whistle too early at recess.
I can borrow and carry very fast. I give them more time to answer six times eight than two times three. I never end a sentence with a proposition. I know what a preposition is.
I draw stars and smiley faces. I say, “Take over,” in four square games when I was not looking. Once I forgot eight plus seven.
I know when to say “can” and when to say “may.” I have worn green marker, red paint, yellow chalk dust, glue stick, and glitter all on the same day. I hate glitter.
I always begin a sentence with a capital and end it with a period. I always walk in line. I always lose at arm wrestling.
I leave “shugar” and “vilets” misspelled on their valentines. I know all my continents and all my oceans. I tape pages back into books. I can find the end of the new roll of Scotch tape. I call on children whose hands are not raised.
I know that colonel is a really hard word to read, and so is doubt and so is gauge. I know that kids will read started, when it says stared. I have spelled outbecause and beautiful and friend six million times.
I am a teacher.
I look both ways before crossing the street. I save balls stuck in basketball hoops. I have given 842 spelling tests and have written “Have a Good Summer!” that many times too.
I collect milk boxes and coffee cans and egg cartons. I know all my times tables. I can type without looking. I know that two pretzels do not equal one Hershey kiss.
I can make a telescope out of a toilet paper roll and a totem pole out of oatmeal boxes. I can make snowflakes out of coffee filters and a space shuttle out of a Pringles can too.
I know my notes because “Every Good Boy Does Fine.” I know my directions because I “Never Eat Slimy Worms.” I know all my planets because “My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Pickles.” And I can only say my ABCs if I sing them.
I fix watchbands, repair eyeglasses, and search for lost milk money after freeze tag. I know when their fists will make a rock and when they will make scissors.
I know when a child does not understand. I know when a child is not telling the truth. I know when a child was up too late last night. I know when a child needs help finding a friend.
I am a teacher.