Ode To The Drama Teacher

And as you stand there: Aghast

Because we’re three days from Opening Night and

Ado Annie still doesn’t know her lines and

The Dream Ballet is a Nightmare and

The Light Board Op just got Detention…

Let us now praise You.

You, the Permanently Fatigued.

You, the Loyal-to-the-Point-of-Self-Neglect.

You, the Keeper of a Thousand-and-Eleventeen Secret Dreams.

You are the one who makes it all Look So Easy.

Who would have expected that the most important Skill you learned getting your BA
Was Juggling?

Juggling Paperwork and Personalities and oh, right – weren’t you supposed to have a
Private Life around here somewhere?

But even though you are Sick to Death of
Spoon River Anthology

You still puddle up every time you hear
There’s A Place For Us

No matter how Off-Key.

And while you still remember when you
Brought the House Down in

You now love This House.

You have created a House where any child – no matter how Flamboyant, no matter how Shy –

Can embrace their Inner Ethel Merman (and thanks to those English 101 classes you now must teach, you are keenly aware that using “their” in the previous sentence is increasingly considered correct and honestly, it’s really the only sensible answer as writing “his or her” is as damaging to poetry as the participle that dangles.)

And you have created a House where any child – no matter how Flamboyant, no matter how Shy – can dive straight to the Deepest, Darkest, Quietest corner of human suffering and bring a room of teenagers – and yes, you, too – to silent tears.

You have made a Home for the Misunderstood

A Family for the Misfit and a

Safe Spot to land no matter how bad The Mid-Terms are.

Because despite all the Budget Cuts and The Paperwork and

The Meetings about the Meeting to Schedule the Meetings and

The Truancies and The Parents

Dear God The Parents and

Did we mention The Paperwork?

Nothing on this Green Earth compares to watching a group of kids
Learn the true meaning of Ensemble.

And nothing compares to the pure joy of watching The Ones whom you knew would Eventually Get It

Finally. Really. Get It.

And nothing nothing nothing compares to The Confidences shared in low tones as they seek you out in

Your Office,

The Choir Room

The Front Seat of the Van on the way home from Fullerton.

You aren’t teaching Drama.

You are teaching Life

Which we all know is a Comedy – a Chekhovian Comedy – but a Comedy nonetheless.

And you aren’t teaching Choreography

You are teaching them to Dance.

And you aren’t teaching them how to be a Character.

You are teaching them how to be Themselves.

So here’s to you –

Making room for Art in a world that seems to have no room for Art.

(Because, by the way, that room has been re-purposed as the new Standardized Test Prep Center – you don’t mind rehearsing outside, do you?)

And here’s to you –

Scrounging around for new shows that somehow match the sets you already have

Because some Genius on the School Board has

Recently Announced that not only can you not perform Huckleberry Finn

Or Anouilh’s Antigone (probably because he couldn’t pronounce it) and

Given the flap over theScene from M. Butterfly last year, I guess
March of the Falsettos and The Vagina Monologues are

Out of the Question for the Spring

So Oh Dear God it looks like it’s going to be
Arsenic And Old Lace one more blessed time.

But that’s OK

I love Arsenic And Old Lace.

So here’s to you –

Making room for Another Coffee Mug with
Those Damn Masks on them

Making room in the Chorus for
Just One More


Making room for Each and Every Child

To Be



© 2011 Samantha Bennett
If you would like to share or reprint this poem, I’d be honored. Please be sure to credit me properly by including my full name and website address (© 2011 Samantha Bennett, https://theorganizedartistcompany.com).

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