Teachers

(For Al and Jenny, who loved me at 19)

A man of letters, with many words,

Is what a teacher seems to be.

But I have come to understand

Words are only part of their impact on me.

I used to think of them in school,

Where their paid job was to teach.

Imparting their knowledge to student’s minds,

Hoping at least a few of them to reach.

But the passing down of cold, hard facts

Is not all a teacher must do.

They must give the tools a young mind needs

To discern the false from the true.

And yet, a teacher is still more

Than a person who passes on facts.

For students learn from their teachers

How an adult thinks and feels and acts.

This is true because a teacher

Doesn’t just teach in the classroom.

Because a teacher becomes an example

To the young lives they’re seeking to groom.

Teachers and students learn together

As they walk through life side by side.

And the students learn best from a teacher

Who from him even failure won’t hide.

A teacher is one who gives the tools

To walk through trouble and strife.

And the best textbook a student reads

Is the one he sees in his teacher’s life.

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