What Happens to a Teacher Deferred?


What happens to a dream deferred?

Or better still, What happens to a teacher deferred?

We don’t like hearing we’re worthless. We don’t like being demonized. We don’t like being made to feel incompetent. We don’t like the public to be turned against us with half truths and propaganda. We don’t like being called selfish. We don’t like being demoralized. We won’t be demoralized.

And so I ask, in the words of the legendary Langston Hughes,

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore —

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over–

like a syrupy sweet?

Teachers marched in Washington this weekend. Did you hear their voices? Did you see their faces? Did you know their passion? Did you know their worth? Did you feel the power of the parents who marched alongside them, united for the forces of democracy and education?

Did it cause you to be uneasy? Do you think we will allow our voices to be silenced?

And, tell me, did you know that nearly 10,000 teachers attended an online professional development this weekend? That many of them gave up family time, time in the sun, time in bed, time for themselves, just to learn? That around the world, late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, they were still conferencing just for the joy of learning? Just to become better? Just to become better for their students?

Does this surprise you?

Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

We’ve sagged before. We will sag no more.

Or does it explode?

Italicized text taken humbly from “Harlem,” by Langston Hughes. Even today, he remains a brilliant, eloquent voice for equality – and respect.


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