How To Be a Successful Teacher in Virginia
First, make sure you leave
your own ideas and schemes
at home. You’ll find a set of texts
upon your desk and everything’s
in there—the stories that you bring
or tell are useless to them now,
(unless they’re on the test).
There might be over thirty children
you’ll have in your small room
and we expect you to run it perfectly
and exert complete control
and cure every child’s issue (though
we don’t know how to deal with
what’s going on at home).
Forget about class plays and parties,
field trips, nature walks, and movies—
they will not get you very far:
and if you want to see results,
then drill and drill those young adults
until those force-fed facts are rote
(memorizing isn’t really hard).
Take care to watch everything you say
because if it’s taken the wrong way,
you’ll have a parent come up here
and we won’t know who to side with
because they’re the ones who give
us our employment, after all (of course
we’ll tell them what they want to hear).
You see, it’s not about the students;
we don’t expect to see a difference
in their minds or in their lives:
as long as we can show the state
that we surpassed our last year’s rate,
then you have done your job (even
though we know it wasn’t right).