Teaching Our Future – A Poem

Last night was Back-to-School Night at my son’s school. It’s a parent’s one opportunity to meet all their kid’s teachers for the year and find out what they will be learning. I almost didn’t go because it seems like I’ve “been there, done that.” But my son only has two more years in high school, and he said “the teachers really like it when parents go,” so I decided to go.

Through the years, my son has had a lot of really great teachers who encouraged him and appreciated him for who he is. He’s also had a very few who were terrible teachers, the kind of teachers who make you wonder why they became teachers in the first place because they didn’t really seem to relate to kids very well. Their arrogant and condescending attitudes were more of a discouragement than an encouragement. Thankfully, these kinds of teachers are few and far between.

All teachers hold the future of our kids in their hands, and most of them are dedicated to making that future the best that it can be. So I decided to write my Thankful Thursday poem about all the great teachers that I am thankful for.

Teaching Our Future

What will
our future hold?
Will compassion be cultivated
or will selfishness survive?

Our future is
in your hands
as we send our kids
to you each day

What will
our future hold?
Will faith flourish
or will distrust be developed?

Our future is
in your hands
as you teach our kids
in the classroom each day

What will
our future hold?
Will generosity grow
or will impoliteness prevail?

Our future is
in your hands
as you influence our kids
by all you do each day

What will
our future hold?
Will grace and mercy multiply
or will bitterness abound?

Our future is
in your hands
and we thank you
for encouraging
positive traits in our kids

About Linda Kruschke

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.
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13 Responses to Teaching Our Future – A Poem

  1. bendedspoon says:

    This is a very special post Linda. My mom is an elementary grade teacher. I have seen her dedication and love for the students. We’re from a third world country and so many don’t have the opportunity to go to school. My mom, in her own little ways, help those who came forward to her class without the capacity to pay for tuition, no paper and pencil — they only had hope for a better future and my mom helped them a step into it.

    Thank you for this and thank you for all the teachers whose heart is into teaching and caring 🙂

    Like

  2. Steve King says:

    Good morning Linda. I’m your neighbor on the links, so I’ll offer a few thoughts.

    I very much like your formal approach–similar stanzas, repeating refrains. It’s almost anthem-like.

    I wonder why you haven’t carried through with ‘day’ as the last word, or perhaps even used it in a rhyming couplet at the end to bring finality? Those kinds of things are especially effective in short punchy pieces like the one you shared. And it wouldn’t change the character of the piece, it would just continue what you’d already started.

    Brian makes a good point above concerning ‘will.’ As a means of variety you might think of using other words like ‘shall, must, may, can, might.’ Just a slightly different accent to lead off the main stanzas.

    I don’t offer the comments to try and suggest something that’s not already in there. You shown a fine thought process, and not enough inspiring things can be said about our teachers. Thank you for sharing it.

    Like

    • Steve, Thank you for the encouraging comment and suggestions. (Great teaching, by the way. 😉 ) I intend to rewrite this a little later today taking some of the crits into account. I will also be over to re-read your poem and provide some feedback. I read it yesterday, but I didn’t have time to give a critique the thought it deserves. Peace, Linda

      Like

  3. CC Champagne says:

    This is a really important topic and I am very glad I got this particular piece to critique! Inspired title, which indicates the topic and would catch the eye of anyone with interest in the areas of children or teaching (or any combination thereof).

    An upbeat piece, though slightly sinister in contrasting the good with the bad where the future is concerned, and you also send a little bit of a warning message to the teachers out there, reminding them of what can happen, what the trend is like, if they don’t take their job seriously.

    Contrast is something I thought about when I read this. Perhaps the ‘extremes’ in your comparisons could be more defined? Would that pack more of a punch? I think you have this in the first two stanzas, but then the edges become blurrier.

    Another thought I had was the possibility of taking out the second ‘will’ in the odd number stanzas. Example:

    Will compassion be cultivated
    
or will selfishness survive?
    vs.
    Will compassion be cultivated
    or selfishness survive?

    For me, at least, that makes the flow easier.

    In stanza six the flow of the last line also caught my attention:

    Our future is
    
in your hands
    as you influence our kids

    by all you do each day

    I think it’s the ‘by’ that I stumble on a bit. Perhaps an alternative would be something like ‘…kids in every way each day’, or perhaps just leave it at ‘… kids in every way’.

    For the last stanza (do you actually call them stanzas even if they are just two lines?):

    Our future is
    
in your hands
    
and we thank you
    
for encouraging
    
positive traits in our kids

    I would suggest scratching the ‘and we’ since the encouraging stands on its own without it and the flow (at least for me) would work better if it was in that powerful, direct way:

    ‘Our future is
    in your hands;
    Thank you
    for encouraging
    positive traits in our kids
    every day!’

    The ‘every day’ could be a way to continue the rhyming but still vary it from ‘each day’. Or just stop after kids, it works as well (I’m a bit of a rhyming freak, me).

    I don’t know how well structured this critique is, but it is after all merely suggestions. And, since I know a few teachers myself, thank you for highlighting the hard work they do and the challenges they face.

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    • CC, Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions. They are very helpful. I will be incorporating some of them into a rewrite later today. It is a little daunting to post something for critique at dVerse, but you have been so kind and helpful.

      I like that you caught on to the warning, because that was what I wasn’t sure I captured in this piece. I was actually thinking of two awful grade school teachers my son had who did not encourage or inspire, but more often left him in tears. Our kids are with teachers a big part of their lives. I am thankful that most teachers really do care. Peace, Linda

      Like

  4. brian says:

    linda…first let me say you really took it to heart and gave great crit to your neighbors…i appreciate that immensely….and then thank you for honoring teachers…they are some of my fav people…

    one thing i think you can take advantage of in your poem is to make the verses more call/response as you use will alot…an example…

    What will
    our future hold?
    compassion cultivated
    or selfishness survive?

    the refrains are nice, but think they can be tightened just a bit as well…lots of you’s in there…

    just my intial thoughts but over all an enjoyable piece….

    Like

    • Brian, Thanks – I like your suggestions. I’ve gotten such great constructive feedback on this poem from the dVerse crowd. 🙂 I’m looking forward to incorporating it into a rewrite. Maybe I can even get this published in my son’s school newspaper when it’s done. Peace, Linda

      Like

  5. i like your subject matter – this feels like a good idea to attempt to relate – i think the idea behind the poetry is so important to its success – i didnt have any really great teaching at school but have been lucky in later life to rub shoulders with genius and expert teachers who have the power to change your life – nice poem – well written

    Like

    • Arron, I think that there is something to learn even from the not so great teachers, even if it’s only how not to be. Thank you for the encouragement on this poem. I agree that having a good idea first is the foundation of good poetry, as well as prose. Peace, Linda

      Like

  6. Morning says:

    lovely wonders, our future is at our own hands,
    bless you, good luck.

    Like

  7. Debbie says:

    The short while that my youngest was in school, we made life long friends with some wonderful teachers who went above and beyond. My oldest also had some really good teachers who encouraged her and once she saw she could get all A’s . . .well that is what she almost always got!
    Linda, this poem/post really blessed me . . .because we are all teachers at times, even when we’re not aware of it.
    God bless you and these last years of high school for your son!

    Like

    • Deb, We are all teachers, and not just of our own kids. Kids soak in the behaviors they see around them and it is so important to be a good example to them. Have a great day being a teacher to your sweet Aubrey. Peace, Linda

      Like

  8. Ann says:

    Thanks much, Linda

    I was once told that a teacher has to be careful because they never know where there influence stops…. Students seem to spend more waking hours with teachers than they spend with their own families. We have much to pray about. Thanks for the prod!

    Blessings much,
    ann

    P.S – I recently participated in an exercise where I was asked who was my most influential teacher and why. Gave me cause to reflect on all the great ones that poured into me. Wish they were still around so I could tell them how much it means to me. 🙂

    Like

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