A Teacher’s Lament

By Kalli Dakos b. 1950 Kalli Dakos
Don’t tell me the cat ate your math sheet,
And your spelling words went down the drain,
And you couldn’t decipher your homework,
Because it was soaked in the rain.

Don’t tell me you slaved for hours
On the project that’s due today,
And you would have had it finished
If your snake hadn’t run away.

Don’t tell me you lost your eraser,
And your worksheets and pencils, too,
And your papers are stuck together
With a great big glob of glue.

I’m tired of all your excuses;
They are really a terrible bore.
Besides, I forgot my own work,
At home in my study drawer.

Kalli Dakos, “A Teacher’s Lament” from If You’re Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Copyright © 1990 by Kalli Dakos. Used with the permission of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

Source: Kids Pick the Funniest Poems (1991)

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Poet Kalli Dakos b. 1950


Subjects Activities, School & Learning, Relationships, Pets


An educator and poet, Kalli Dakos was born in 1950 in Ottawa, Canada and studied at institutions such as Queen’s College, the University of Nevada, the University of Alberta, and Syracuse University. Her early career as an elementary school teacher and reading specialist has influenced her later work. Dakos’s poetry is uniquely attuned to the lives of elementary school students, and her collections of poems are often considered . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, School & Learning, Relationships, Pets


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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