In Response to Devos

Apparently what happens when you watch too much Hamilton and read the news the next day is you feel like venting via poetry. Here is my verse response to what is being said by our federal government.

In Response to Devos
by Erica Johnson

I am a passionate professional
Whose profession is often passed over.

I give care to how I approach students,
But I am not just a caregiver.

I will sacrifice for my kids,
But I am not a sacrifice for my kids.

This does not make me apathetic,
This does not make me negligent,
Nor does it make me selfish
I am a teacher, but I am also human..

Yes, I am interested in my own issues,
But that does not mean
I cannot also take issue
With how you have treated my peers,
My proteges,
My parents,
Or my principals
Or my principles.

Yes, I want kids to continue learning,
But who said learning stopped
I can see that more learned
Outside of their four walls,
Their seat,
Their classroom,
Or their building.

Yes, I want what is right for families,
But that does not mean
You can say what that is
For the family with compromised health,
With elderly,
With lives already lost.

No, you don’t get
To be a leader
Only on paydays
And holidays
And when it suits your needs!
We needed you
On the hard days
And sad days
And when it was starting to get dark.

No you don’t get
To make an appearance
Only at this hour
And time!
We needed a plan
A week
A month
A while ago!

No you don’t get
To point to other countries
As examples
Only when it comes time
For school.
We should have followed
Their model long before this!

I would say you are worse
Than my students,
But that would insult their
Work ethic,
And Camaraderie.

I would say you are like the line:
“Poor planning on your part
Does not necessitate
An emergency on mine”
Except in this case it does —
It’s not just an ‘F’
It’s Death.

It’s 134 thousand deaths and counting.
It’s 3 million cases and counting.
It’s counting the days until school opens,
Until the dam breaks,
Until the bottom drops,
Because you’d rather count out coins than lives.

Since when was signing my contract,
Signing away my life?
I always feared I would die
Doing what I love.
But teaching was never supposed to be
A death sentence.


2 thoughts on “In Response to Devos

  1. Yes to everything you write here! I love in a country where the rate of infection (so far) is much lower and I still share your concerns about going back to the classroom, so cannot even imagine how amplified that feeling is in the US. The thing is, we do not know how to be safe yet. The US and DeVos have not led the way in keeping safety a priority, so sadly it is not surprising that it has come to this now. My thoughts are with you all. Thanks for sharing your powerful words!


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