40 of Our Favorite Poems About Teaching

Words to inspire and contemplate.

Whether you’re a teacher sharing your love of poetry with students or someone who’s trying to show appreciation for today’s educators, you’ll probably appreciate this list of teacher poems. The right teacher poem can truly strike a chord and capture the unique beauty and challenges that come with this important role. To show our appreciation, we’ve collected these amazing poems about teaching to inspire, amuse, and tap into the deep connection we all have with this crazy, lovely profession.

1. Raising Their Hands by Julia Lisella

Raising Their Hands by Julia Lisella.

“Sometimes I dream about my students …”

2. Teachers by Kevin William Huff

“Teachers paint their minds and guide their thoughts.”

3. Lessons of Another Kind by Leslie Owen Wilson

“I came to teach / To see what I could find …”

4. My Teacher Wasn’t Half As Nice As Yours Seems To Be by Roald Dahl

“Our class was full of one-eared boys …”

5. A Teaching Fantasy by Margaret Hatcher


“I teach. Ideas and words are my business.”

6. The Silliest Teacher in School by Darren Sardelli

The Silliest Teacher in School by Darren Sardelli.

“Our teacher gave detention / to the fountains in the hall.”

7. Teachers by Beryl L. Edmonds

“Teachers proudly stand in front of the class …”

8. Subject to Change by Marilyn L. Taylor

“They are so beautiful, and so very young …”

9. The Hand by Mary Ruefle

The Hand by Mary Ruefle as an example of poems about teaching

“The teacher asks a question. / You know the answer …”

10. Marked for Life by Janie Reinart

“Thin jagged line …”

11. Opposites by Eileen Snook

“Overworked, overextended, overbooked.”

12. What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali

“I make kids wonder. I make them question.”

13. On Teaching the Young by Yvor Winters

“The young are quick of speech.”

14. December Substitute by Kenn Nesbitt

“Our substitute is strange because / he looks a lot like Santa Claus.”

15. Napoleon by Miroslav Holub

Napoleon by Miroslav Holub, poems about teaching.

“Children, when was Napoleon Bonaparte born, asks teacher.”

16. For Elizabeth Bishop by Sandra McPherson

“The child I left your class to have / Later had a habit of sleeping …”

17. Mrs. Stein by Bill Dodds

“The school bell rings, we go inside …”

18. To David, About His Education by Howard Nemerov

“The world is full of mostly invisible things …”

19. Adjacent, Against, Upon by Rick Barot

Adjacent, Against, Upon by Rick Barot, as an example of poems about teaching

“I may be looking at the set of boulders … but it is you I am addressing.”

20. Why Latin Should Still Be Taught in High School by Christopher Bursk

“Because one day I grew so bored with Lucretius, I fell in love.”

21. Pencil by Marianne Boruch

“My drawing teacher said: Look, think, make a mark.”

22. An Instructor’s Dream by Bill Knott

An Instructor's Dream by Bill Knott.

“Many decades after graduation …”

23. The Lesson by Roger McGough

“Chaos ruled OK in the classroom …”

24. Poem for Christian, My Student by Gail Mazur

“He reminds me of someone I used to know …”

25. Transcendentalism by Lucia Perillo

“Why am I ‘I’?”

26. Theme for English B by Langston Hughes

“You are white—yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.”

27. The School Where I Studied by Yehuda Amichai

The School Where I Studied by Yehuda Amichai.

“I passed by the school where I studied as a boy …”

28. For a Student Sleeping in a Poetry Workshop by David Wagoner

“I suppose he’s dreaming …”

29. Ars Poetica #100: I Believe by Elizabeth Alexander

“Poetry (and now my voice is rising) …”

30.  Reservation School for Girls by Diane Glancy

“On the porch of the reservation school …”

31. The Emperor’s New Clothes by Kate Gale

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Kate Gale.

“Because we want to make meaning.”

32. Workshop by Billy Collins

“Maybe it’s just me, but the next stanza is where I start to have a problem.”

33. Thanking My Mother for Piano Lessons by Diane Wakoski

“I want to thank my mother / for working every day …”

34. The Properly Scholarly Attitude by Adelaide Crapsey

“The highly desirable, the very advisable …”

35. Prof of Profs by Geoffrey Brock

Prof of Profs by Geoffrey Brock.

“I was a math major—fond of all things rational.”

36. The Academic Sigh by Russell Edson

“Some students were stretching a professor on a medieval torture rack.”

37. The Poet Ridiculed by Hysterical Academics by W.D. Snodgrass

“Have you subversive, out of date, / Or controversial ideas?”

38. The Village Schoolmaster by Oliver Goldsmith

“The village all declared how much he knew …”

39. Unity by Ray A. Lingenfelter

Unity by Ray A. Lingenfelter.

“I dreamed I stood in a studio …”

40. Teachers by tree cards

“Teachers are dedicated, to our education.”

For more poems about teachers and teaching, check out these amazing collections:

Want more poetry? Check out these back-to-school poems.

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These poems about teaching really nail what it's like to work in a classroom. What are your favorite poems about teaching? Please share!