Non-fiction, Poetry, Writing, Writing Ideas

The Blame Game: The Politics of Teaching

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

I wrote this poem years ago. I ran into it (not literally) this morning as I was looking through my stuff at school. In education, we constantly discuss what is happening with the changes that are occurring, it seems, on a daily basis. The reference we use is called the “the pendulum swing.” Right now it seems as if the pendulum is stuck in one spot. Kids don’t understand how to fail and do it gracefully. Everyone deserves a trophy these days.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this profession. But I heartily admit that I feel that my kids came out of my class more intelligent when I was able to teach my own thing in the classroom. When I tested them on my own terms instead of the government’s terms, their grammar was better. We could explore the material. Right now, it’s all about high stakes testing and making sure they are ready for the one test they take yearly to make sure they measure up with all the other kids in the United States along with all the other kids in every country in the world. What happened to reading for pleasure? What happened to writing for fun?

When I saw this poem in my notebook, I couldn’t believe that I had written it in 2005. Nothing has changed. The pendulum is stuck. This is what it was like in 2005, and it is still happening. I hope you enjoy, even if you aren’t in education.

The Blame Game: The Politics of Teaching


The ugliest word in the English language….

Or is it the ugliest word in the workplace?

One thing is certain.

Politics must be the most misunderstood word in the English language.


With politics you always have…


People telling you

“You can grade the way you want”

But it really means

“You can grade the way you want…

Provided all the kids pass.”

Or people always telling you

“We want the students to be successful”

But it really means

“As a teacher

You are not successful.”

Or people always telling you

“We need to change the culture of our school”

But it really means

“The government is breathing down our backs.

We’re doing everything we can to meet the standards.”

Or people asking you

“What are you going to do to help my kids be successful?”

But it really means

“I don’t know what else to do at home

And you’re left to blame.”

Or people asking you

“What exactly IS your failure percentage?”

But it really means

“My kid is failing

And you’re the cause of it.”


So why exactly do politics exist?

Politic means prudent.

Why is it that we know what is prudent,

But we don’t always follow through with this idea?

If politic means prudent, why do we always put the blame

On someone else?



Because politics show us that putting the blame on others…

Is prudent for us as individuals.

How sad is that?

We are trying to teach our students that they must accept responsibility,

But our entire society is based on a practice as old as our country;

The practice of politics.

The practice of avoiding undesirable consequences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s