(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.