Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Poem for a First Grade Teacher

I often write poems for special occasions. I’ve written several to read at the retirement parties of teachers and other staff members who worked at my school. I posted the following poem, Here Is Her Room, at Blue Rose Girls last May. The poem was written several years ago for one of our first grade teachers. I thought I’d post it again at Wild Rose Reader for Tricia’s Poetry Stretch-School’s Out, Summer’s In.

Here Is Her Room
by Elaine Magliaro

Here is her room—
dark and dusty,
bare of bright pictures,
plastic bins empty
of thick primary pencils
and silver-scaled scissors,
its cardboard alphabet
hidden in a dim cupboard.
The painted whales
have swum away for summer.

Here is her room—
hollow and lonely,
its door shut tight
on uncounted memories.
Turn the brass knob
and enter softly.
Listen to the echoes
of downy chicks
cheeping in a corner,
merry young Pilgrims
celebrating the first Thanksgiving,
children singing songs
and reciting well-loved poems,
the snip of busy scissors
cutting colored paper
for a winter collage.

Here is her room—
four walls holding a happy history,
a world of words and wonder
she opened to boys and girls
before she gave them


Kelly said...

Beautiful, Elaine! There's something special about first grade, isn't there?

Elaine Magliaro said...


I think teaching first grade is the most difficult grade to teach. I know that the wonderful first grade teachers at my school loved it, though. They were amazing educators.

My first grade experience was not a happy one. I hated going to first grade at a parochial school in the early 1950s. We had about 50 kids in a class. It wasn't pleasant. I became a school phobic for awhile--and even refiused to get on the bus twice!

jama said...

This is so lovely, Elaine. Glad you posted it again, since I wasn't even blogging last May. When I was writer-in-residence at an elementary school, I found 2nd grade the hardest. My favorite grades are 3-4.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I taught second grade for many years--and loved it. Most people think it's any easy grade to least most children are semi-literate when they arrive in second grade. First grade teachers are responsible for so many things--especially giving a children a good foundation in reading.

P.S. I also loved teaching third grade.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

What teacher wouldn't love THAT? Beautiful.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, Jules!

Linda said...

Your poem makes me proud to be a teacher. The last day for the kids is Friday. Although I'm looking forward to more time to write, I will miss them.
Thank you for sharing.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks for your kind words. I hope you have a great last day at school and a wonderful and productive summer writing.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous, Elaine. You always pick out the most wonderful concrete details in your poems. Puts me right there in the classroom!

Elaine Magliaro said...


I guess you could say that it's easy to include concrete details when you're writing about things you know well. I'm glad the poem brought you into a classroom. That was the effect I was trying to achieve.