Education For All?

TED Talks Education aired last night on PBS and while I didn’t get to watch it, I thought that because of it, I would post something I wrote for my Sociology of Education final.

It’s related to this video (And yea the video is actually like 11 min long but I promise you it’s worth it if you have the time…there are lots of fun drawings to keep you entertained if Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk doesn’t do it for ya)

The poem is also related to the idea that many facets of the structure of our education system need serious attention due to the fact that there are many students who fall through the cracks just because they don’t fit into the mold the system has created.

Specifically, this poem represents one of the main themes from our class, which was that children develop their sense of self largely based on the perception of the ‘other.’ That ‘other’ in this case, being the way today’s education system is set up.

**Disclaimer…I do not write poetry EVER. What you are about to read is suuuuuper free verse**

Have fun!

Education for All?

“You get to go to school!” my mom says, I am 5 years old.

“You get to go to school!” my mom says, it is time to go.


“Welcome to school!” the teacher says, are you ready to learn?

“Welcome to school!” the teacher says, it’s time for mom to go home.


“In school, we read books,” the teacher says, “we don’t just tell stories.”

“In school, we sit in our seats,” the teacher says, “we don’t jump up and down.”

“In school, we speak English,” the teacher says, “We don’t use Spanish or slang.”

“In school, we use our inside voices,” the teacher says, “don’t be so loud.”


“He doesn’t know how to read” they say, “put him in this group over here.”

“He can’t sit still,” they say, “Oh, Ritalin will fix that.”

“She doesn’t understand the lessons,” they say, “but English-immersion is best.”

“She is just SO loud,” they say, “Yea, well you know how those loud black girls are.”


“I can read some words,” I want to say, “but we didn’t do this at home.”

“I don’t like this medicine,” I want to say, “but the teacher likes me better now.”

“No entiendo lo que dice mi maestra,” quiero decir, “pero tengo vergüenza.”

“I’m not loud anymore,” I want to say, “but now I get A’s without saying anything at all”


“Would you like to read aloud for the class?” the teacher asks.

“I can’t read,” I reply.


“Why won’t you sit still?” the teacher asks.

“Sorry, I didn’t take my medicine today.”


“Do you understand?” the teacher asks.

“Yes,” I reply, even though I don’t.


“Why are you so quiet?” the teacher asks.

I just shrug my shoulders.


“I’m stupid”

“I’m too hyper.”

“I was smarter in Mexico.”

“Who am I?”


“Stay in school,” they said, “it’s the key to success.”

“Stay in school,” they said, “or you’ll never get a job.”

“Stay in school,” they said, “it’s where everyone gets a chance.”

“Stay in school,” they said, “don’t you want to have a better life?”


“I’m not smart enough,” I said, “why try?”

“School sucks,” I said, “who cares?”

“I’m already behind,” I said, “what’s the point?”

“I’d rather be myself,” I said, “I miss my friends.”


“You get to go to school,” my mom said, when I was 5 years old.

“I got to go to school,” I said, “and here’s what I was told…”


“You’d be better suited in this class.”

“Will you PLEASE calm down?”

“You really need to speak correctly.”

“Don’t be so loud.”


This intelligence thing, it’s not for me.

The school would be better suited if I would just leave.


Let me know what you think!




One thought on “Education For All?

  1. Mel,
    A subject so close to my heart! Not every child learns the same way! Our Country, definitely needs to take action and teach each child in a way that makes them want to learn, to feel good about themselves, and want to succeed. Well said girlfriend 🙂
    Happen graduation!!
    Love you,
    Ms. Samantha

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