Appreciating teachers: a student poem

This year, as part of the newly expanded Baltimore County Public Schools Teacher of the Year ceremony, Johana Gourdin, a junior at Dulaney High School, was invited to craft a poem honoring teachers and to recite it during the ceremony. We are pleased to share her moving words:

Johana Gourdin, Dulaney High School junior, presenting her poem during the 2013 BCPS Teacher of the Year ceremony.

Johana Gourdin, Dulaney High School junior, presenting her poem during the 2013 BCPS Teacher of the Year ceremony.


is the essential component

that makes or breaks the connection between student and teacher

Sit in enough classrooms and you pick up 

who loves what they do

and who doesn’t

Love is the extra oomph that gives an educator personality,

and makes lessons seem like conversations

Geez can you imagine world history or algebra

just dry, bare bones

Scholarly words and Challenging numbers

drawn up on a chalkboard.                                              

Without love school is a prison,

teachers are wardens,

and pupils are sentenced to 13 years 

with good behavior.

Love is what reminds the world’s best teacher

that the trouble student shooting spit balls at the wall

is still a person.

Love guides the molding hands of a teacher,

it is those hands that will shape the next generation of thinkers.

You’ll never know what lesson, group discussion, or after class chat

will change the course of a student’s life.

If i had never been encouraged to pursue poetry my freshman year,

I’d never have learned the power of my voice,

I wouldn’t be standing here.

The beauty and the beast of teaching is that there will never be a thank you large enough

to do you all justice.

The best thank you your students can offer you, is to thrive.

To thrive as thinkers, as adults, and citizens of the world at large.

Like a parent helping their child learn to ride a bike,

the best reward is watching them ride away without you.

But even after the bond between teacher and student has faded

it is love that brings former pupils back down your halls

and it is love that greets you every year

in the smiling faces of a new class.

The world surrounding an educator is ever changing

but love will always prevail


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