Poetry of Kansas

A Plea for the Teacher

The school marm is a winsome maid
Who toils for meager pay
To edify some little jade
Whose mind is bent on play.
For half a year she saves and works,
Accumulating scads,
Then spends them in successive jerks
For books and other fads;
That she may better fitted be,
By summer institute,
To cultivate the young idee
And teach it how to shoot.
School is not what it used to be
When you and I were small;
Such useless things as A B C
Are hardly taught at all.
Kids learn to read right off the book
Before they learn to spell,
And little girls are taught to cook
And do the housework well.
The boys now find their daily task
Not half so dull and stale,
For nothing better could they ask
Than hammer, saw and nail.
The teacher works for meager wage,
But has to strive the more
To glean from off the printed page
Some forty kinds of lore,
That she may guide the young idee
Along the proper way;
And that is why it seems to me
We ought to raise her pay.

Verdigris Valley Verse
Albert Stroud
(Coffeyville, Kansas: The Journal Press. 1917)
Page 63

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March 25, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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