So You Want To Be A Teacher?

Bukowskiquotescopy1A poem speaking to some things inherent in great teachers.

This remix is in memory of Charles Bukowski. 1920 – 1994.     — We miss you.


if it doesn’t come bursting out of you

in spite of everything,

don’t do it.

unless it comes unasked out of your

heart and your mind and your mouth

and your gut,

don’t do it.

if you have to sit for hours

staring at your computer screen

or hunched over your


looking for a lesson plan,

don’t do it.

if you’re doing it for money or


don’t do it.

if you’re doing it because you want

to save the world,

don’t do it.

if you have to sit there and

worry about tomorrow’s lesson

again and again,

don’t do it.

if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,

don’t do it.

if you’re trying to teach like somebody


forget about it.


if you have to wait for the lesson to roar out of


then wait patiently.

if it never does roar out of you,

do something else.


if you first have to check first with your colleagues

or your girlfriend or your principal

or your parents or to anybody at all,

you’re not ready.


don’t be like so many teachers,

don’t be like so many thousands of

people who call themselves teachers,

don’t be dull and boring and

pretentious, don’t be consumed with


the classrooms of the world have

yawned themselves to


over your kind.

don’t add to that.

don’t do it.

unless the lesson comes out of

your soul like a rocket,

unless not being a teacher would

drive you to madness or

suicide or murder,

don’t do it.

unless the ideas inside you are

burning your gut,

don’t do it.


when it is truly time,

and if you have been chosen,

teaching will do it by

itself and it will keep on doing it

until you die or it dies in you.


there is no other way.

and there never was.


don’t try,

it’s the trying that gets in the way.




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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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