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15 December, 2012

Animo, gente, but say a prayer too!

Hey Gente,

I want to play catch-up with you, fill you in all the writing, poetry, project stuff happening lately and from the last year, but my heart is a bit heavy. Just read, or watch your news.

I won't get political, nor too sentimental, but what I will do is keep a chin up in honor of those children and those educators who lost their lives in Newtown, CT and anywhere in the world.

I post this poem in Facebook just a few minutes ago, so I thought I would do the same here:

I Teach

I wrote until
the chalkboard
clear and white,


lockers unfolded
out of cabinets,

no tiza dust,
but erasable markers,
shinny boards that I
close my eyes in front of.

I hold my breathe right
before the first bell rings,
and every morning
I run all sorts of thoughts

and I know.

I teach because the money
is a hot meal, nothing more,
I teach because I can see
in their faces,

I teach because they want to be here,
I teach because they hate being here
and there’s no place else.
I teach because I let them feel
at home
and sometimes the kids,
they ask if they can spend
the night in the classroom.

I smile.

I provide cots for the ones
that can’t sleep at home; with
a pillow and matching sheets.
I’m a taxi service when it gets too late.
I’m a social worker when the school nurse
forgets the hearing aid paperwork . . .
I teach because the world
does not provide for an
A,B,C,D bubble life.
I teach because I hated teachers
and I am sick of hating them.

I teach to be humble.

I teach because I want them
to remember their own fathers
and quit slipping and calling me “Apa”.
Sometimes they hug me afterwards.

I teach for the laughter. I see the tears
and I can recognize
the hearts of children,
at least today.

Today is the only thing I control.


I will:

ice a few busted lips,
glue a shoe sole,
fix a spiral notebook,
contain a seizure,

collect twelve love notes
and correct the spelling,

organize three games of
kickball, soccer and
red light/green light,
make the boys shake
after a fair fight,

dig in the closet for extra
clothes after someone’s accident,
make a rainbow and speak of magical
refractions and sunlight,
and the kids, yeah, they
will only hear me say
rainbow, blah, blah, blah
magical blah, blah, blah, light,

use diplomacy while playing UNO,
introduce deodorant,
provide at least four lunches,
repair two sets of  glasses,
burn all the paperwork,

defend a child from a drunk parent,
stop a bus with a single hand,
control the weather with
my imagination,
bridge a nose bleed,

wish, then, shake the shit
out of that hooker/momma
when I need her Gustavo
in my Math tutorials,

make all the kids live to read,
convince eight pairs of parents
from Lantern Village that “camping”
is good for their hijitos


combat a system that wants
to swallow my kids whole.

I save children everyday,
every time I open my door.

So tell me,

just what the hell do you do?

© 2010 Lupe Mendez 

If you have children, hug them tighter. If you talk to your kid's teacher, thank them. If you are friends with a teacher, tell them they are doing a good job. Its an amazing profession. Then call home and talk to your loved ones. 


  1. Thanks for share this things....Great things for this...

  2. Thanks for sharing this post...Really very informative .....keep sharing.