"I take slivers out of fingers and bad sports out of 'steal the bacon.' I know when a child has gum in his mouth even when he is not chewing. I hand over scissors with the handles up. My copies of The Velveteen Rabbit and Treasure Island are falling apart. I can listen to one child talk about his birthday party and another talk about her sleepover and another talk about getting his stomach pumped last night-- all at the same time.
I fix staplers that won't staple and zippers that won't zip. I poke pins in the orange cap of glue bottles that will not pour. I plan lessons while showering, driving, eating, and sleeping. I put on Band-Aids and winter coats and school plays. I know they will not understand the difference between your and you're. I say "cover your mouth," after they have coughed on me.
I am a teacher.
I spend Thanksgiving vacation writing report cards, Christmas vacation cleaning my classroom, and summer vacation taking classes on how to relax. I turn jump ropes and am base in tag.
I am glad you can only get chicken pox once.
I correct pencil grips and spelling mistakes and bad manners. I push in chairs all the way, push swings higher, and push sleeves up while children are painting.
I'm allowed to touch the paper cutter.
I say, "Use two hands!" when they carry their lunch trays. I say, "Accidents happen," after they did not use two hands. I answer to both "Mom" and "Dad."
I am a teacher.
I hope April Fool's Day is on Saturday. I leave "shuger" and "vilets" mispelled on their valentines. I know all my continents and all my oceans. I tape pages back into books. I call on children whose hands are not raised.
I collect milk boxes and coffee cans and egg cartons. I know all my times tables. I can type without looking. I know that two pretzels do not equal one Hershey kiss.
I fix watchbands, repair eyeglasses, and search for lost milk money after freeze tag. I know when their fists will make a rock and when they will make scissors.
I know when a child does not understand. I know when a child is not telling the truth. I know when a child was up too late last night. I know when a child needs help finding a friend.