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:
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