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The Teacher's "If"

by R. J. Gale

If you can take your dreams into the classroom,
And always make them part of each day's work—
If you can face the countless petty problems
Nor turn from them nor ever try to shirk—
If you can live so that the child you work with
Deep in his heart knows you to be a man—
If you can take "I can't" from out his language
And put in place a vigorous "I can"—

If you can take Love with you to the classroom,
And yet on Firmness never shut the door—
If you can teach a child the love of Nature
So that he helps himself to all her store—
If you can teach him life is what we make it,
That he himself can be his only bar—
If you can tell him something of the heavens,
Or something of the wonder of a star—

If you, with simple bits of truth and honor,
His better self occasionally reach—
And yet not overdo nor have him dub you
As one who is inclined to ever preach—
If you impart to him a bit of liking
For all the wondrous things we find in print—
Yet have him understand that to be happy,
Play, exercise, fresh air he must not stint—

If you can give of all the best that's in you,
And in the giving always happy be—
If you can find the good that's hidden somewhere
Deep in the heart of every child you see—
If you can do these things and all the others
That teachers everywhere do every day—
You're in the work that you were surely meant for;
Take hold of it! Know it's your place and stay!

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