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The Rookie Teacher

(Sung to the tune of “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin)
Lyrics by Wes Stephenson

The students arrived just the other day,
First day of school and I went out of my way
To learn each name in an effort to say
You matter to me and we’re both okay.
The room décor reflected all the things that we’d do;
They looked around and somehow knew, yeah, I’m gonna like learning with you.
From the Cat in the Hat to the flight to the moon,
A wizard named Harry and some emperor’s tombs,
When begins the learnin’? Well I don’t know when,
But somethin’ seemed to stir within, yeah, it seemed like I was teachin’ then.

Lecturin’ on math just the other day,
Kids were getting restless when I looked away;
So I closed my book, let that lesson lay,
Reached in the cupboard for the modeling clay.
I plopped a glop of Play-dough on each student’s desk:
Here is your division test, yeah, the kids were all a-yelling “YES!”
And they got into the lesson and a light turned on,
Ain’t no point in messin’ when attention’s gone.
Some can only see what they can touch and feel,
And that’s when the learning’s real, yeah, and that’s when the teaching’s real

With the students dismissed at the end of the day,
I planned a couple lessons which I filed away;
Did my presentation for the PTA;
Shook my head and pondered on my pitiful pay.
And I wrote some notes and sent them to a parent or two;
Oh, when will this day be through, man, always somethin’ more to do.
And there’s tests to be graded and the essays to read,
On power points I’m poundin’ ‘til my fingers all bleed;
What was I a-thinkin’ when I got this degree?
At times I simply want to flee, yeah, is teaching really meant for me?

Well a child sat silent in my classroom today,
The look in his eyes a million miles away.
I saw him all alone with the others at play,
So I sat down beside him at the end of the day.
We talked about his troubles and I knew right then,
No one else was there for him, no, the world was closing in on him.
And as his tears gave way to smiles it occurred to me,
This is where I want to be, yeah, this is where I’ve got to be!
From the Cat in the Hat to the flight to the moon,
A wizard named Harry and some emperor’s tombs,
When begins the learning? Well I might know when,
For me it all began right then, yeah, I knew I was a teacher then.
I knew I had to teach… I was a teacher then.

Picture of Wes Stephenson

Wes Stephenson

Author, motorcyclist, poet, and adventurer. Let's journey together.



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