‘Twas the Night Before Teaching

Sara JesseeBlog, Connect Better, Manage Better, Teach Happier


  •  This post shares a poem that encompasses what goes through a teacher’s mind on a daily basis.
More rapid than new initiatives filling my plate / Illogical worries lined up at the gate / I’d planned on technology, what if the school lost power / Then we’d sit in the dark and learn nothing each hour Click To Tweet

‘Twas the Night Before Teaching

‘Twas the night before teaching when all through my mind,

No positive utterance of self-talk could I find.

My briefcase was slung by the front door downstairs;

Inside—tomorrow’s lesson—planned with great care.


I was s’posed to be sleeping all snug in my bed,

But visions of catastrophe stormed through my head!

Those kids in my classroom, and my co-teachers, too,

Had just hours before learning, I don’t have a clue!


Then I started to feel rather squooshy, like jelly,

I sprang from my bed, my fears overwhelmed me.

I gazed out my window, brain reeling with questions,

Had I even planned a research-based lesson?


The moon lit the sky, but my brain was all foggy,

What are my standards? What’s pedagogy?

Is my mini-lesson mini? My assessments authentic?

My bellringer too bland or perhaps too eccentric?


What if my workshopping isn’t workshoppy enough?

Or my “engaging activity” is really just fluff?!

What if all my Bloom’s questions are met with bored shrugs?

Or all the buzzwords I know haven’t maintained their buzz?


More rapid than new initiatives filling my plate,

Illogical worries lined up at the gate.

I’d planned on technology, what if the school lost power?!

Then we’d sit in the dark and learn nothing each hour.


I might misspell on the board and kids see my mistakes!

I might literally or figuratively fall on my face!

I might wear one brown shoe and the other one black,

Then kids would all put “kick me” signs on my back!


I could have spinach in my teeth and the kids will all laugh,

Okay, actually, that won’t happen, I’ll be wearing a mask.

But I could use lame lingo and they’ll think I’m so tacky,

Is it “sus” to say “sus”? If so, will they “lol” at me?


I could spill coffee all down the front of my shirt,

Or I could run out of coffee; Oh dear, which one’s worse?!

The students could trick me with impossible queries,

Like how to spell “Wednesday” or “February”!


Kids could throw paper airplanes or shout “Boo, no one cares!”

Can I take a day off for being irrationally scared?

I shouldn’t stay home, I better not, but I pouted,

I’ll go do my job, but I’m not happy about it!


To bed and to sleep now; I really must rest,

Now dash away, dash away, dash away stress!

I lay my head on my pillow, at last sleep awaits me!

RIIIINNNNGGG!!! My alarm clock! Why does it hate me?!


I drag myself up, I stretch and I yawn,

Find a respectable teaching ensemble to don,

Drive begrudgingly to school, my terror still clings,

And before I know it, the morning bell rings!


No 47 minutes had ‘ere been more dreaded,

My mouth dry as a bone, yet how the rest of me sweated!

But it passed in a snap, with not a moment to think.

‘Twas like nothing you’ve seen, you’d miss it all if you blinked.


Kids sprang from their seats with the ring of the bell,

Away they all scurried and I waved my farewell.

Then what to my wondering ears did I hear?

Magic words that voided all my doubts and my fears.

One student exclaimed as she strolled on her way

“Thank you, Ms. Jessee! Have a great day!”


Teaching can be scary, overwhelming, and stressful for sure! But we love it anyway. And, personally, I love that it can be whimsical, creative, and poetic. I hope all my fellow educators have the happiest of holidays! And may this New Year be new in all the ways we need it; may our to-do lists not runneth over and may our time be bountiful, filled with joy, and, maybe, with a dash of poetry!

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About Sara Jessee

Sara Jessee has been a teacher in Illinois for 16 years. For most of that time, she has taught Middle School, specifically 7th grade Lit. & Comp. and Language Arts. The fun, energy, creativity, and learning that come with teaching middle school make her love the work she does. Sara works hard to give students opportunities to engage with meaningful and diverse texts and help them become aware, informed, active citizens who add value to the world around them.

She has also been a middle school drama director for 10 years, and often writes scripts with the drama students who love bringing their unique, creative ideas from the page to the stage. Sara is also an assistant graphic designer with Teach Better, and she greatly enjoys working with a team of people who bring so much conversation, joy, and inspiration to the world of education.