A Teacher's Day

The day in the life of an inner city large urban school district teacher after the high stakes testing ends and there is still three more months left before summer vacation.

Name:
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

I have taught school for over thirty years always in the inner city and for the most part always upper grade students. I have two children and I have been married for twenty years.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Frank Christensen--Spiritual Poverty

So what's the biggest difference between Viet Nam and America? I ask.

Frank Christensen tells me there are a lot of differences.

But the biggest one?

Spiritual poverty.

I tell him I met a woman from Ecuador once. Yes, she told me, spiritual poverty. America has big stores and great shopping. That's not enough. There is no spiritual richness in America.

Frank has been in and out of the country a lot during the last few years. Spiritual poverty, he repeats. That's a problem.

I never told him what the woman had to say. I actually wrote a poem about it. It will be interesting to hear what he thinks.

THE WOMAN FROM ECUADOR SPEAKS

It's not that America is a great country,
I'd just rather be home.
In my country, poverty is very real,
but here there is a greater suffering.
Home, I fill myself with poets,
storytellers, those with idealism.
Home, we give honor to the teacher.
Your country breeds a spiritual anger,
a poverty more devastating
than a lack of food, a lack of clean water.
Why can't Americans wait patiently in line?
Where is it written a house needs a five
car garage? A phone in every room?
A diamond to die for? A PlayStation 3
to fight over? I would rather own
a gem of verse, a storyteller's laugh line,
knowledge from a teacher.
Those are things to die for. I have to go
home. The water is too shallow here.

---Michael H. Brownstein
@2006

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