I call them gentle shepherds
who are charged with pint-size lambs
about to graze on truth where e'er it's found.
Though underpraised, they're worthy of
far more than what they're paid.
The pasture where they lead is holy ground.
They welcome children primed to learn
wide-eyed (yet quite naïve)
who anxiously leave home for most the day.
They take the hands of little ones
and guide them to their room
where tears are dried and nervous fears allayed.
Yes, kindergarten teachers
are a cut above the rest.
If truth were told they are a special breed.
Who else can make arithmetic an interactive game
while teaching future scholars how to read.
The ones who take our five year-olds
into their confidence
help shape their view of school for years to come.
They grease the skids for learning
as they model etiquette
in a lifelong search for learning just begun.
** I dedicate this poem to my middle daughter (Allison Asimakoupoulos Anderson) who has devoted the last seven years of her life to shepherding pint-size learners at North Park Elementary School in Chicago.