I, Teacher.

(The education system was most affected by the pandemic and our teachers are no less essential workers. This poem is written from the point of view of a 30-something secondary school teacher. Having observed her struggles, up, close and personal, this poem is an ode to her and many like her. )

Rising before the world awakes

I make my way down to school.

Gusting past in the rickshaw,

With the morning zephyr so cool!

Greeted by your sing-songy

I try to stifle a chuckle

The assembly commences

Intently observing tie, belt, and buckle!

With your sleepy troddles

The way to the class you take,

I love your little attempts

To unsuccessfully stay awake!

Curious eyes stare at me,

Some filled with excitement,

Some with a hint of drudgery

Oh! How it takes me back

To my days of tomfoolery!

After dispersal I head home,

Utterly exhausted;wanting to leap to the bed!

Admonishingly, the lesson plan slaps me on the head.

I often ponder,

As I stare intently at the year calendar. 

April and May look empty,

Compared to the busy year!

All this came to a standstill

As the world was taken ill,

Warm smiles left, replaced by cold screens.

In-class learning swapped mercilessly

By ennuyeuse online means!

We put on a strong front

As insecurities gnawed

Yet again we took the blame 

for the system so flawed! 

We brave through the gossips, the secret photos taken, 

The meme material we offer, the butt of jokes we become.

It is not for the 50, 100, or 200 we teach,

It is that undying hope that at least a few will make that reach.