what a teacher is all about

what a teacher is all about

the apple and the teacher

By Henry H. Walker

what makes for a good middle school teacher?

we struggle with criteria(ˌkrīˈti(ə)rēə),
and gradations(grāˈdāSHən) of meeting those criteria,
and that helps us in the threshing(THreSH),
of getting the chaff(CHaf) to blow(blō) away
so that the kernel(ˈkərnl) of who applies reveals(rəˈvēl) itself,

for near two generations
I have worked as educator in the middle school,
and a truth emerges(əˈmərj) to me, shouts(SHout) at me,
that what is most important
as to who it is that works with our students
is a sureness within them
that the driving definition(ˌdefəˈniSHən) of them as teacher
is the centering of school
upon what is best for the students,
upon how to see each student for who they are,
to know them, to love them,
to help each find a workable path
to a future that calls to them,

all else falls away:
the academic(ˌakəˈdemik) accolades(-ˌläd,ˈakəˌlād) of the applicant(ˈapləkənt),
the expression(ikˈspreSHən) of an abstract(abˈstrakt, ˈabˌstrakt) vision(ˈviZHən) for teacher
as being to student, as modeler(ˈmäd(ə)lər) to the clay(klā), as shaper(SHāp),

I search for evidence that a teacher knows
literature(ˈlidərəCHər, ˈlidərəˌCHo͝or) and writing as a wholeness:
the apple an organic(ôrˈganik) whole
and not just a sum of its parts,
the wholeness of the experienced
matched by the wholeness of the student and teacher,
the teacher, at their best,
holds within themselves
who the student is,
and all the paths that can call to them,
who strives(strīv) to live the art
of holding in the heart and the action
both the reality of what the present reveals
and the reality of what the future allows.