This isn’t how to teach poetry or poems about your teachers. It’s poetry about being a teacher or teaching. Poems about that profession that gives way more than it ever receives. Poems written by teachers, many of whom actually can DO as well as teach. Poetry that shows what those teachers can do and what teaching is like for them.


The Heart of a Teacher: On Staff Meetings, Lice, Field Trips, and What Really Matters

A teacher writes 64 poems about being a school teacher, based on the author’s own teaching experiences along with those who probably stuck it out much longer..

At times funny, other times poignant, Salas' poems offer a perfect way to end the school year, or to begin a new one!

That always sucked: the moment you realized that you needed to start a new school year once again, especially if you’re an author at heart.


Teachers in Autumn

Supposedly written by three life long teachers (not hyphenated). Not teachers of grammar, I suppose, but still teachers who apparently offer “an imaginative examination of three lives in the 20th and 21st centuries.” Sounds exciting, but why all three of them? Do they life long teach in the same school? A school without hyphens, perhaps. After reading the sample, it’s not about teaching all that much, so whatevs.


Leaves of Paper: Poems and Stories About Teaching

This is a legitimate book of poetry and other writing about teaching. 24 poems and vignettes. (That’s two dozen for all the gym teachers out there.) Written by an ELA teacher for the consideration of other teachers. It’s not 64 like The Heart of a Teacher book, but there also aren’t any weak-ass Haikus in it as fillers.


Turning Halls of Yearning Into Halls of Learning: Inspirational poetic commentary about teaching and learning in an urban school setting

Another book that has poetry about teaching, mostly starting with the line, “Do we, can we, love this child?” so you can be sure it’s not going to be about classroom perfection. If you teach in an urban setting, this could be inspirational or depressing. Probably both.


Honestly, there’s not a whole lot more that’s easy to find on Amazon. Most books are about teaching poetry or maybe poems written for elementary school students. It probably says a lot about where we are as a society in regards to reading and writing poetry. It also may say something about how difficult it is to find what you’re looking for when teacher guides are the books that hog search results.

I’m hoping this article and others like it can help direct people looking for that perfect gift for the teachers in their lives. Honestly, teachers want to pick out their own teaching guides or electronic devices. But books are always a good gift. And regift. So go ahead.

Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • QR Code Interview Gimmick
    My kids' school created a pamphlet with a QR code that linked to the website, so I figured it could be useful to do the same thing when I bring in my resume to a job interview. Especially since I made a cool online resume that really looks a lot better than the printed kind. Plus, printing all that I've done over the last two decades would be a huge waste of paper (unless it gets me the job).

    I wonder how many people in the average interview will know how  to use the QR code. I didn't have the capability on my phone until last year, and it is kind of a gimmick, especially since you can usually just email links and whatnot. Then again, it's something different, and it might make me stand out a bit, so I'll print off the code along with some other important documents.

    I am sure plenty of people have used a QR code as part of their interviews, but I do think my online resume is pretty darn good, so it's more than a link to my Linkedin page. I suppose a link to a video of me would be even cooler, but that would mean making a video, and it's not like I'm trying to get a job as a videographer. Anyhow, feel free to use this idea as part of your next interview. Just like everyone started using student-written letters of recommendation after I introduced the idea back in 2002.

  • Who's Got My Back in Jacksonville?
    I've seen several political ads recently that focus on people who have the back of the police officers. I suppose that's a thing, but I am not a police officer (or a native of Jacksonville), so I'm kind of wondering who has my back as I settle in here.

    I assume JSO and JFRD have my back because it's their job. And all the military around here have my back in case Canada attacks. But I'm thinking about the everyday having my back kind of thing.

    In Milwaukee, I could count on some people, at least a little bit. Classmates from Milwaukee's John Marshall High School (91, 92, 93, and 94). Or Wilbur Wright Middle School (88, 89, 90). Or French Immersion school or 82nd Street School. Most of the people who might have my back in MKE are now cordial Facebook friends. Sure, our high school football team liked to say we went to war together and we were brothers for life an all that, but we're kind of distant cousins at this point, two decades since I've seen most of those old friends in person. That said, any meatheaded rivalries are now gone at least.

    I donated my time as a teacher at Menomonee Falls High School for 12 years, so there might be a few fellow teachers or former students who have my back. Then again, I didn't get a whole lot of love from many of the MFHS Indians back when I got laid off, so whatevs.

    People at church will have your back, generally, but it takes some time to build relationships. Same goes for fellow parents at your kids' school or new co-workers. Or new neighbors.

    I felt like my fellow baseball teammates in Wisconsin had my back when I played there, but that was also mostly the guys with whom I played for many years. Maybe it just takes a lot of time for people to really have your back, and you have to stay relatively injury-free.

    Family is forever, but I don't have any in jax. I bet that's fairly typical in this area with such a fast population growth in the area. Lots of new people without family, so probably a lot of us trying to figure out who has our backs, besides politicians, of course. Obviously, I have my immediate family, but that's a little different than the idea of someone having my back. Still, it's more than some folks might have.

    My wife's been fortunate enough to find a Meetup group with people who probably have her back. I have not found a good group to join myself, but that's one way to make new friends. Maybe not super close friends, though. I'm not sure. Meetups are hit-or-miss. Just like friendships. 

    I guess I'm glad I'm not in a gang or anything, even though gang members have each others' backs. But the cops and politicians don't have their backs, which is good. I suppose we can all relate to the appeal, especially if you grew up thinking no one had your back.

    I hope all people in Jacksonville find the connections that make them feel safe without having to join a gang, call the police, or vote for someone. That's my goal, anyway.