If…

If you can hold your breath when all about
Kids sneeze open-mouthed at you,
If you can trust yourself when all students doubt you,
But make sense of their doubting too;
If you can wait for a word and not be tired by waiting,
Or being cried about, don’t deal in cries,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t reach too high, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream in phonics —and not make insomnia your master;
If you can mark —and focus your corrective aim;
If you can meet with Tears and Toilet Disasters
And treat those two accidents without blame;
If you can answer ‘What’s that?’ and spell the words you’ve spoken                                 Twisted by rules and explain the traps for fools,
Or watch the crafts you gave your time to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with glittery glue:

If you can make one heap of all your lesson planning
And risk ending on one game of noughts-and-cross,
And lose the calm, then start again with your discipline
And never breathe a word of your control loss;
If you can force your grammar, vocabulary and values
To serve your turn long after the students are gone,
And hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Starbucks latte which screams to you: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with parents and keep your virtue,
Or connect with unruly kids and reinforce the common touch,
If neither bored students nor brutally honest comments can hurt you,
If all children count on you, but not lean on you as a crutch
If you can fill the unforgivably fast minutes
With ninety minutes’ worth of ‘blending sounds’ fun,
Yours is the classroom and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Teacher, brave one!

Crudely adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If —’, Rewards and Fairies, 1912.

Owl puppetReading

 

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