An English Teacher's Lament

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I am

I am tired

I am tired of being this subjected individual
Whom, ya' look in the corner,
whom you're right now wondering
if he's using the word whom correctly over
The thing is m'friend

That I AM Tired

Tired of saying speak instead of Spieek
Tired of standing in my classroom block
And listening to giggles and comments on
How the hell did this maestrito got his job?
Wanna hear a fact?

Back at my hometown I was sly
Back in my hometown I was fly
Still, I remember being undermined by my
Latino-like accent that I let slide
It was so that I decided my friend
to come back to my island to experience brotherhood
I came here, back to my barrio
I came here back to my patria
But, when I got here,
I did not belong here either
Let me elaborate

I am tired

Tired of thinking that when I decided
to become a teacher

I was going to be that defender
Of those who were English native speakers
I am tired

Tired of noticing that those

native speakers, whom I defended
now look at me and criticize me

For how I am talkin'

Yes, I have a hard time speakin'

But it is so because I do it with love
I do so in such a fashion so that all of you may
understand every single word

Every single word that comes out of my voz
Again, I AM Tired

Why? Because I go back home thinkin'
Is you gonna be flunkin'?

Is you gonna be in my next exam cheatin'?
Is you gonna be understandin'?

Is you likin'

Are you followin'?

Is you understandin' how desperate I am of you passin'?
My class that is.

Yes, I am the guy who

back in Texas, people said

he don't do speak Spanish well, who
here in Río piedras people said

"he just imitating an African American accent," who
here in aibonito needs to control the accent, who
desperately needs some refinement, who
back in Caguas people said

"He's just trying to be fancy," who
people ultimately said

"He can't be a good teacher because of his accent."
Let me explain to you something

You know what keeps a-buggin' me?

That I need to hesitate every time

So that I can hypercorrect myself, and

I need to eliminate that beautiful A prefixin'

Ah! Yes I miss usin' it.

I miss sayin':

A-runnin'

A-huntin'

A-fishin'

A-comin'

A-playin'

And

A-learnin'

Again, I am tired

I am sick of having to

Play the innocent guy

The English teacher who pronounces all his Rs

The guy who agrees to everything

And still continues being undermined.

You know what hurts the most?

I thought that those kids,

those, kids like me

whom grew up learning both languages

at the same time

It was them, whom I thought would

UNDERSTAND me the most

No way, Josey.

If anything it has been them

it's been them the ones whom
have judged me the most

Y'all think I'm stupid?

I know man, I know.

I know when you just say stuff to get on my good side
I know when you use yo' phone in class,
I know when you're not paying attention and waiting for me to give the back,
so you can go back

to speak with yo' friend at the back.
You know what I say to you, person who undermines?
I still care about ya'

But if you continue like that,
Saying, let's send him back to the elementary
English teacher

If you continue

ignoring the work that I do for ya'
Is you who's got it bad

But again, I still care for ya' and I want ya' to pass
Why? Because I love ya'

I love ya' for believe it or not
I think of y'all as if ya' were my own babies
I know, ya' must think I'm crazy
But pray tell me

Who am I?

Where do I belong

What am I?

Who wants me with 'em

Am I

A toy for society to stereotype?
What am I?

What am I?

You now what I am?
Tired

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