Friday, August 26, 2016

The Teacher to Welcome to the 4th Grade 
Students gather to say farewell to their teacher 
A teacher welcomes his new class 

The Teacher (English sonnet) 

His students gathered there around his bed
And through his window far as eyes could see
The faces seated in his memory
Are placing gentle laurels round his head
And every now and then one stopped to cry
Remembering a lesson they misplaced
Another truth of life he taught to taste
Was nothing grander than the question why
Why are so many things taken away
Why is it that all good times seem to end
Why does my friend and teacher have to go
The teacher’s teacher’s minds can never stray
From soul which turns and calls its soul its friend
Then turning to the world to share the glow

This sonnet dedicated to Johnny Land - the teacher who gave me my great life. 

A tribute to a teacher inspired this English sonnet. This sonnet starts off with a tragic feel. As the triplets take over the sonnet takes an entirely different flare. The "Why" triplet asks questions of life, rather than any school subject. We are expecting death in the last triplet, but instead we are taken away.  This sonnet suggests that good teachers never die. 

This sonnet was written with Johnny Land in mind. I met Mr. Land when I entered the 7th grade, at James Lick Junior High. He was a music teacher, but he taught me to appreciate so much more about school (and life). I credit Mr. Land for making the good student I was. He got me to sing and perform on stage. When I was doomed to a below average high school, Mr. Land got me into a much better high school. It was due to Mr; Land finding opportunities for me to perform that I met Arlene, who I would later marry. Mr. Land would watch over me through my college days. He was Afro-American, which wouldn't make any difference, except that my mother was a racist, brainwashed by Nazi Germany. So we have a black man guiding her son. (She didn't show up at any of my performances.) When I went high school, there was a major race war going on, between the Chinese gangs and the blacks. Thanks to Mr. Land making me a star, I was granted a certain amount of protection from all the goings on. Recording star Martha Wash (Weather Girls), of "It's Raining Men" fame, and Calvin Simmons, Oakland Symphony conductor, were two of his students. In 1999, when I was honored by San Francisco for my work for the pubic schools, Mr. Land was there, in more ways than one. 

We are all teachers. Think about it. Do we have families and friends? Do we ever go where other people are? Do we think we are being watched? Do we ever watch anyone, wishing we could be like them or hoping that we were nothing like them? Believe it or not, it happens all of the time. Conscientiously or subconsciously.  It is part of our nature. Here is another "believe it or not". People are basically good. So what does all of this mean? People are basically good. We are watching one another. The world is getting better! We are getting better. And who do we think gets the most lasting attention? Think of all the good you do. Think of the lasting change you are part of. And when we think about how amazing we are, Enjoy. 

Let's enjoy some music of another great teacher: Maurice Jarre "Keating's Triumph" 

Let's turn the sands of time backwards 

Teachers make 14% less than people in other professions that require similar levels of education. Meet Dwayne Reed. Instead of sending out the same old "Welcome Back" newsletter, Mr. Reed, a first year teacher from Chicago, wrote a rap song for his 4th grade students. He recorded a music video to go along with it. The song and video emphasize the reality that hard work is a must, but that school and learning can certainly be fun. 
Here's to teachers everywhere. "Welcome to the 4th Grade - Dwayne Reed" 

Thank you for stopping by and your kind support 

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A good teacher can inspire hope, 
ignite the imagination, and instill 
a love of learning. 
Brad Henry 


  1. Enjoyed this read during breakfast. Great thoughts to take with me through the day.

    1. You are a teacher too
      Thank you and have a great day

  2. The good teachers sure put in a ton of work, but you remember them for it. And yeah, anyone can teach something, just have to watch and want to learn.

    1. Here here!
      Thank you and let us learn and teach to make this a better world

  3. Hello, wonderful poem. It is great to have a teacher that really inspires the kids today. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

    1. Thank you. Let us support our teachers.
      Enjoy your weekend

  4. What a poignant and wonderful poem. I've been very fortunate with some of my teachers and am grateful to them. Thanks for making me think of them today.

    1. Your quite welcome. Let us never forget our teachers
      Thank you

  5. Good teachers are precious. And sadly underpaid/under recognised.

    1. So sadly true. But I did my share to help.
      Thank you for standing with me