When I become a teacher
I'll put a map of the world on every wall in my classroom
My students will always know to have a universal mindset
When they hear freedom, they'll think of more than spirituals and Emancipation
They'll remember the stinking pits at Babi Yar
The curled steel at Auchwitz
Sarajevo’s rifle butts
Cambodia’s grit and sweat and death
These classroom walls will not fence their minds.
Eyes will be opened. Again.
Instead of asking my students to adjust to my teaching style
Fawn in silent awe over my genius
I'll ask them how they learn
Then tend to the visual
and tactile learners
the best way I can
They’ll never doubt their place in my plan,
Confuse our classroom for a cookie-cutter
Stage where they must sit on their hands.
I’ll take criticism.
Gather it like gold dust between my fingers.
Never satisfied, I’ll Practice my practice forever.
My classroom will be painted bright blues and yellows
Along with students drawings, murals and poetry
Displays of Me Magazines
And word walls
Scenes from books acted out
and Mock trials
I will appreciate their creativity
I will teach my students inquiry
Ask them questions about the world around them
Their opinions on issues from health care to the Palestine Wall
I won't talk at them, but with them
We'll have discussions and debates
I will challenge them
Ask them how they would tackle issues like budgets cuts
Low reading levels
And school safety
I'll ask them how they feel about Pennsylvania finding money to build 3 more prisons but cutting funding from schools
Or how they feel about districts paying millions for standardized test and curriculum but not having enough for extra curricular activities
They will be informed
My students will be poets
All while being beautiful
Everyday I will tell them they're beautiful