#Poetry Friday-MacArthur’s “I Shall Return”-The Teacher’s Version

March 19, 2015 — 6 Comments
When I look for inspiration in writing, I occasionally turn to “On this Day in History” websites. There is always some famous person’s birthdate or some memorable event that can spark the imagination to create a lesson about literature or an author.
So when my best friend, Catherine Flynn from Reading to the Core, offered to host #Poetry Friday on March 20th, I wanted to contribute a special post to mark the occasion. Catherine, a district reading consultant and former teacher, is a fan of historical events.
In doing my research, I discovered that March 20th marks the anniversary (3/20/1942) of General Douglas MacArthur’s statement, “I shall return.”Screenshot 2015-03-19 21.36.41
General MacArthur made this announcement arriving in Australia, after being forced to evacuate the Philippines during the height of a Japanese attack. He fulfilled the promise to return made in his iconic statement two years later on October 20, 1944, striding out onto the beach on the island of Leyte.

A sense of determination “to return” is something I witness everyday in teachers. Teachers must demonstrate endurance in meeting the everyday challenges in education today, challenges large (responsible for educating children for our collective future) and challenges small (bulletin boards, lunch duty, formative assessments, summative assessments, group work, Parent/Teacher Conference Night, and more).

The attitude of teachers to return every day to the doors of their classrooms determined to meet the challenges of each day is what I hope to have captured in the following poem:

“I Shall Return”: The Teacher’s Version

 

I Shall Return

…to the school parking lot

to snag the last available space

that is farthest from the building

(and it’s pouring)

I Shall Return

…to the back door of the school

balancing the bag of stickers and markers and card stock,

with the bulletin board corrugated cardboard,

and a box of energy bars (sans nuts),

in my paper stuffed satchel-

(“Is that my phone is ringing???”)

-with my keys at the bottom.

I Shall Return

….to the classroom

just in time to set up the desks for ???

(select the one that best applies:)

A. Socratic seminar

B. morning meeting

C. Daily 5

D. computers on carts

I Shall Return

….to the copier,

it’s jammed,

it’s hot,

and out of ink.

I Shall Return

…to the dimly lit book room

and dig through the pile

of dusty boxes filled with dog-earred copies

and abandoned textbooks

desperately seeking 27 paperbacks OF

Ramona the Pest OR

A Wrinkle in Time OR

Of Mice and Men

No matter the grade level…still 3 books short.

I Shall Return

….to the (hard copy/online) grade book

and mark the tardies

and mark the absences

and mark the group work

(and note, “No quiz grade for Mark?”)

I Shall Return

…to the parking lot

lugging the satchel of papers

that have travelled,

ungraded,

from school,

to home,

back to school where

I do what I love.

And so,

I Shall Return

©Colette Marie Bennett, 2015

Submitted with great respect for both General MacArthur and educators everywhere on the March 20th anniversary.

Hope this was ok, Catherine!

To see the other #PoetryFriday posts check out her blog: Poetry Friday is Here!

6 responses to #Poetry Friday-MacArthur’s “I Shall Return”-The Teacher’s Version

  1. 

    This is wonderful, Colette! I especially love being 3 copies short, no matter what. Thank you for taking the time to craft this tribute to the hard work we love.

  2. 

    You are in the trenches, and certainly a General would appreciate a teacher’s dedication, honor, long hours, steadfastness, and, dare I say, insanity? I couldn’t do it. I would be exhausted!! I really relate to that: is that my phone, keys on the bottom feeling. Great poem!

  3. 

    So. Very. Perfect.

    You wrote it for Catherine, but I’ll thank you on behalf of all the rest of us.

    Those papers lugged back and forth…if I don’t get busy on the three sets I brought home for spring break and haven’t touched yet, I will reenact that portion of your poem! (I often do…)

  4. 

    Now that is a wonderful idea making use of “On this Day in History” as inspiration. Lovely poem and great theme! 🙂

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. SOL: Poetry Friday is Here! | Reading to the Core - March 20, 2015

    […] Colette Bennett celebrates the anniversary of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s “I Shall Return” speech  with a tribute to teachers at Used Books In Class. […]

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