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I am your teacher

Hammonton Education Association member Cari Coia shared this poem in the hopes of encouraging other educators facing challenging times and reminding them of our common purpose: to see, respect, encourage, defend, comfort and guide the students in their classrooms every day.

Who am I?  What is my purpose?  What do I do?

I am someone who sees you-the true you-as you really are.

It is my job to see you.  Not to teach you Hamlet or vocabulary-

though I do adore both.

I am someone who hears you.  It is my job to hear you, and then to actually listen to what you are really saying you need from me.

Your words and your actions are always telling me something I need to know—

something significant and important.

I am someone who respects you.  I respect who and what you are-without judgment. 

I respect where you come from, and what you deal with, and what I can’t possibly see or understand.

I am also someone who has the expectation that you respect me in return.

I am someone who “gets” you.  I “get” that what I ask you to do here often seems ridiculous and inconsequential, but I want you to leave here with your diploma.

I am someone who knows that this place is, at least, a means to an end, and, at best, your first step towards a happy, fulfilling life.

I am someone who understands that your intelligence and you ability to succeed cannot be defined by the grades you earn here.  I am someone who understands that sometimes your worst behaviors are telling me something is wrong and are not for me to take personally.

I am someone who hurts for you.  I hurt when I see your isolation, or your pain, or your confusion.  I always wish I could fix what is wrong, but most of the time I can’t.

I can, however, be patient, accepting, and above all compassionate.

I am someone who has hopes and wishes for you—

big, big hopes and wishes.

I am someone who wishes you all the best in whatever you decide to do or be.  I wish you happiness and health-the ability to accept what you cannot change-and the grace to forgive those who hurt you in their ignorance.

I am someone who wishes you the gift of being able to rise above the hurts of the past, and to live the lives you are meant to live.

I wish you the gift of learning from your mistakes, choices, and experiences, both good and bad.

Learning is never, ever wasted.


I am someone who worries for you.  I worry that you won’t be able to rise up and be who you are supposed to be.  I worry, and think, and fret more than you could probably ever imagine.

Who am I?  What is my purpose? What do I do?

I am a teacher-your teacher.