I talked with two teachers just the other day,
It sure was interesting to hear what they had to say.
One was complaining about all the paperwork that she had done.
The other was excited about how well the school year had begun.
One told of a new student, who enrolled in her class that day,
And how he couldn’t read on level or his letters he couldn’t say.
The other was so concerned about the child, who couldn’t count past
And wondered what she could do to reach and motivate.
One belittled the poorly dressed student, who was in her room,
Saying she wouldn’t pay attention and fell asleep that afternoon.
The other told me of a child, whose parents had split apart,
And how much it had affected her learning from the very start.
One told me of the little boy, who constantly broke the rules,
And how he was my problem now, since I was principal of the school.
The other asked me for some help with a defiant student, too.
She wanted to get the parents involved, in hopes that she’d
One said she didn’t have the time for all that in-service stuff.
She had a master’s in education and that was quite enough.
The other told me of an article in a journal she read last night,
And what recent research said about teaching to left brain and right.
One was angry with the number of copies she always had to run.
She considered learning work, there’s never time for fun.
The other invited me to her room to watch the students who
Were thinking and creating, and problem solving, too.
One was bragging that the whole textbook she had already taught,
Although it didn’t seem to matter if the students learned or not.
The other told of experiments and new methods she did try,
And not just asking who, when, and where, but what if and why?
I wish I had the answers for the differences between these two,
For both are so important to the educating we do.
I guess one feels that teaching is a job and nothing more,
While the other loves the challenges that always find her door.
I’ve known both kinds of teachers, and I’m sure that you have, too.
Please stop and think a moment… Which one of these are you?
— Copyright © 1988 Robert McDaniel