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To My Teacher

by Shaun, then 14, to his English teacher

I didn't ask for it. This mind that seems to so repulse you.
It's not my fault I'm different in a way you cannot stand.
I cannot understand why a man like you could fear me.
But fear is what I see in you - it's either that or hate.

I can't think that you hate me - because I've seen the time you take
To help me when I've needed it in any other way.
Except when in your class room - and then you seem to feel that
You must destroy me utterly, to make me just the same.

I threaten you? I think so. But I really do not mean to.
I'm just a boy and you're a man with my mind in your grasp.
You could hold it and caress it, and help it grow and prosper
Or crush it into cubeness so it fits into the pile.

I know you are a poet, so I'm trying this to tell you,
Sir, I don't want special treatment, I just want my chance to shine.
I'm hating all the hiding that I'm finding I must go through
To make myself acceptable in this place I've found myself

You call yourself a teacher, well teach me, Sir, I beg you.
I am at your disposal, so please don't throw me out.
I can't see how it harms you, to teach the person I am
Instead of teaching me that who I am just doesn't count.

It seems I'm not the person you want to spend your time on
I know you entered teaching to try and make things fair
I think you feel that nobody should be allowed to do well
Unless it's everybody - but is it fair to make me wait?

You're not just sitting back, Sir, and letting me learn nothing
Instead you're leaving me to fall back from what I used to do
If you want to help the weak, then please I beg you help me
Because I'm just not strong enough to do this on my own.

I want to learn, so much, Sir, that I really truly taste it
Those things that lie on edges just beyond the things I know
But every day I sit down in your class room, I retreat from
The places I could go if you would just give me a chance.

I'm arrogant, perhaps, to think my crude verse might just move you
But there's nothing left for me unless I make you understand
I don't want to be this way - I just want to be normal
But I didn't get a choice and I cannot turn it off.

I don't claim to be special, I don't want any privilege
I just want to be shown that it's OK to be myself.
Let me learn what I am able, without feeling like it's wrong, Sir
I have never asked for anything, but I am begging you

I know you do not hate me, I hope I'm wrong about you
Being scared of me, or finding me repellant to your views
But I'm hurting as I write this, and I don't like pain at all, Sir
That's how much I need to say this - now it's really up to you.

Author's Note:

Yes, I did hand this up to my English teacher, and in fact, it did work - although not exactly in the way I'd planned. You know the
expression 'Be careful what you wish for?'

He accepted what I'd said, and decided that he would make a special effort to give me what I said I needed. But if he was going to make a special effort - then so was I. He taught me to within an inch of my life - he really pushed me very hard to excel, and wouldn't accept anything less than my best.

I'm not complaining - in fact, I'm extremely grateful to him and I've felt long term benefits from his teaching - it was brilliant. But at 14 - well, I just wanted a *little* bit more of a challenge - he decided to take me to the limits that I could reach.

©Copyright 2004 by Shaun H.


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